Noncommissioned officers with 3rd Battalion, 393rd Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, trained soldiers with the Army Reserve’s 311th Sustainment Command, out of Los Angeles, Calif., on the Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicle Egress Trainer simulator at North Fort Hood recently.

The California soldiers are training in Texas for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

“One of the requirements of all (deploying expeditionary forces) units deploying is that they go through the (MRAP Egress Trainer) and MRAP familiarization,” said Sgt. 1st Class Talmige Bell, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the battalion’s Echo Battery driver team. “This training is beneficial to every soldier.”

The MRAP Egress Trainer has become a critical element of post-mobilization training due to improvised explosive devices and other ordnance used against American forces in theater.

The battalion driver teams conduct 40-hour blocks of training on different versions of the MRAP vehicle.

“This training will show soldiers how to get in and out of the vehicles in the event of a rollover,” said Lt. Col. Donald Deas, personnel officer of the sustainment command.

“We haven’t had any extensive training on these vehicles, so it will be excellent for our troops.”

The MRAP egress training has been proven to save lives in combat.

“(The trainer) reduces the injuries and fatalities of gunners by 80 percent during deployment overseas,” Bell said.

Many of the soldiers who played the gunners role in the MRAP Egress Trainer simulator had a better appreciation for the training after they participated in exercise scenarios.

“During the rollover training, you lose total control of your body,” said Spc. Ahrielle-Elen Soria, an intelligence analyst with the command.

“I was glad that they caught me before I hit the turret window.”

Not only is the training life-saving, but it will also give the unit a sense of security as they perform their mission in theater.

The 311th’s mission will be to act as the joint sustainment command in Afghanistan during retrograde operations in theater.

“I feel confident that they will do well,” Bell said. “The unit came here, learned and had fun with the training that we have provided.”


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