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Marines enhance egress skills

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr., Marine Corps Bases Japan

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines attached to Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, practiced escaping the cabin of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle during Submerged Vehicle Egress training on Camp Hansen June 2.

The Marines, from 2nd Amphibious Assault Bn., 2nd Mar Div, II MEF, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., are assigned to CAB through the Marine Corps’ Unit Deployment Program.

The Submerged Vehicle Egress Trainer houses two separate sides, said Shawn Miller, an Aircrew Devices Training Instructor for III MEF. One side has the humvee, and the other side holds the Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

The AAV side of the SVET was the point of focus during the training for the class.

The trainer was designed to give students the full effects of disorientation, Miller said. It is raised out of the water and then dropped to simulate crashing. Sometimes, it is rolled completely over 180 degrees, and other times it is rolled on its side.

Students in the course are taught the correct egress procedures before embarking the AAV simulator, which is then rolled over, and students are expected to escape.

“We take them through a step-by-step process,” said Miller. “We step it up a notch every time we get in there.”

Initially, they make a few mistakes. They learn from them, improve and become more proficient at AAV egress, added Miller.

The Marines were given instruction on how to exit the AAV in various positions in the water. Then, they were sent through the different scenarios with combat gear and blinding goggles.

“There’s going to be different scenarios. You can’t predict what’s going to happen during a crash or in a rollover,” said Miller.

Going through these different scenarios allows them to put to use the skills they are taught, such as using physical reference points, not just vision, and getting familiar with the surroundings and equipment, added Miller.

“The feedback has been very positive, it’s an eye opener for a lot of guys,” said Miller. “They don’t realize how difficult it is to get out of a submerged vehicle.”

“I absolutely enjoyed the training, (it) is as realistic as it needs to be,” said Staff Sgt. Gennaro Mazzeo, an AAV crewman with CAB. “The training that we received today is something that we talk about in theory, we give classes on in theory, but until an Amtrak actually sinks you never know exactly how you are going to get out of it.”

Mazzeo was one of 16 Marines who attended the course.

This training has benefited all involved and equipped each individual with the knowledge to save themselves and any person in the vehicle with them, added Mazzeo.

“This has opened up my eyes to training, and things that I can think about to train my own Marines -- on things that might happen and situations that might occur,” added Mazzeo. “What if I had all my gear in here? What if I had 21 combat-equipped troops and my crew? What could I do to more efficiently to get these guys out?”

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