Kentucky Soldiers add realism to vehicle recovery training

Story by Chief Warrant Officer Greg Scott, 206th Engineer Battalion

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Soldiers of the 206th Forward Support Company respond to a simulated vehicle roll-over during vehicle recovery training at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., May 15, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — In a unique reversal of roll-over training, Soldiers with the 206th Forward Support Company practiced their recovery skills on intentionally overturned vehicles at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky May 10-24.

As part of the unit’s annual training, the 206th Engineer Battalion was looking for ways to give the 206th’s maintenance and recovery section the best and most realistic training they could provide. After a few ideas had been discussed, the idea of roll-over recovery training was decided on. What better way to get this type of training than with real military vehicles that Soldiers could roll over and then recover?

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Spc. Andrew Meador with the 206th Forward Support Company attaches a tow cable to the back of an overturned Humvee as part of a training exercise at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., May 15, 2014.

“The value of recovery training is measured by its applicability to real-world situations and challenges,” said Capt. Kurt Fryberger, commander of the 206th FSC. “These recovery missions forced Soldiers to assess the complex situation upon arrival, and draw upon one another’s strengths to create the best course of action to complete the mission.”  

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When the issue was first approached about intentionally rolling over a military vehicle, almost everyone involved thought it couldn’t be possible. After hours of research, many phone calls and endless emails, it started to look like it could actually happen. Once it was finally approved through all parties, a 5-ton truck and a Humvee made its way to Greenville.

Once the vehicles were in position, all fluids were drained and flushed and all glass was removed to prevent any environmental concerns once the vehicles were overturned.

Senior leaders and experienced vehicle recovery Soldiers guided other members of the unit through the proper procedures and safety precautions. And once each Soldier was familiar with the process, the roll overs began in the fields of the training center.

A detailed risk assessment with countermeasures were also employed to provide further instruction and oversight during the exercises.

After the Soldiers had practiced rolling the vehicles back over a few times, they started putting them to use in different scenarios that included enemy forces and casualties. This incorporated the use of a security element and a medical evacuation team.

“This training was something that I had never experienced before,” said Spc. Dalton Benson, a generator mechanic with the 206th. “It was the best and most realistic training I have ever received with the National Guard.”

By the time annual training was over, the Soldiers from the 206th FSC maintenance section had been exposed to training that few other units had ever seen.

Spc. Andrew Meador, a mechanic and recovery team leader with the unit enjoyed the variety of scenarios and the intensity of the unique training.

“This was really good for our unit,” he said. “Each mission kept getting progressively harder and leadership didn’t intervene allowing us to handle the situation and benefit more by having our hands on it.”

“I loved every minute of it!”

Even with the difficult arrangements for the unit, leaders of the 206th agree that the outcome was well worth the trouble.

I am not aware that anyone in the Kentucky National Guard has conducted recovery training to this level of realism,” said Maj. James Richmond, commander of the 206th Engineer Battalion. “I feel confident that the 206th Forward Support Company maintenance section is well prepared for any kind of vehicular mishap.”

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