Rollover, rollover, rollover!

To give you an idea of how the Army and Air Force differ, let’s look at two scenarios. Before I came here to combat skills training, I was told I needed a HMMWV (Humvee) driver’s license. Well, that involved an Airman taking an hour of his time to show me the mechanics of the vehicle and a quick test drive. I was then officially licensed per the Air Force.

But now that I’m at CST, I need to be Army qualified and licensed on a HMMWV. And so begins a marathon of obstacles. First off, as I mentioned yesterday, death by powerpoint. Then a written test. Then a maintenance class. Done yet? Not even close. I”ll see you tomorrow.

Next day, we roll into a hangar for HEAT (Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer). Basically, if we ever get hit by a roadside bomb or we happen to accidentally rollover in a Hummer, we will know how to get out of it. Try and stay calm sitting in a hummer that you know is about to flip over. It’s not that easy. Add to that, you have a gunner that sits up manning the turret. As soon as you feel the hummer began to roll, the passengers in the back have to pull two red cords on the gunner seat to drop the gunner into the cab of the vehicle. Then, as you flip upside down, you have to hold, grasp or hug the gunner close to you to keep them from flying through the cab. All the while keeping your calm as everyone yells, “Rollover, rollover, rollover!”

I wish I could have recorded it, but I’ve linked you to a video here, to see it happening at another base. It’s rather comical, although in real life it would happen 10 times faster and there would be nothing to laugh about.

After that class, we got to drive the HMMWV through a series of combat maneuvers and then out on a road test. I felt like I was 15 trying to get my learner’s permit. Thankfully I passed. But, we are not done yet.

Flash forward to today. We met up at 6 p.m. for some death by powerpoint on the most awesomest invention ever — Night Vision Goggles. After the powerpoint, we got to drive out to a training range and actually drive in pitch black through a trail with only the NVGs to see with. I can’t tell you how great that was. I didn’t realize how well you could see with them. Apart from everything looking green, you can make out every little detail. And, if you wear glasses, the NVGs can actually be adjusted for each individual’s eyes, so you don’t have to keep your glasses on.

I wanted to keep a set to take home, but I didn’t seem to have $10,000 on me at the time, so I regretfully handed them back. The good news, after three days I was finally Army qualified to drive the exact same hummer the Air Force qualified me on in an hour. In the Army’s defense, some of their training was a lot more fun, I just could do without some of the endless powerpoint.


2 Responses to “Rollover, rollover, rollover!”

  1. Angela, Bryan, and Daniel Says:

    So I have to ask, why did it take them so long to get out of the vehicle after it was done rolling over? Was it disorientation? Did I totally miss something? I think it is so amazing what you and others like you are willing to do for our country. Personally, I think with everything you do, they should gladly give you the NVGs! 🙂 It would be such a small token of thanks for all that you do.

    • jetgwot Says:

      Yeah, when you think about it. You are hanging upside down and the locks for the doors are almost on the floor and require a lot of pressure to open. Once you’ve spun around you have to support yourself with your arm on the roof, unlock the door and then hope you fall feet first out of the hummer. It’s crazy, but a lot of fun. One guy split his ear, but that was about the only damage.

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