Proper reporting and feedback from National Training Center and Fort Irwin Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilian and contract employees to the United States Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center resulted in the development and fielding of the Vehicle Emergency Signal Kit.
The VESK consists of two reusable inner packs that are used to secure an M126A1 Red Hand Held Signal and M18 Red Smoke Grenade inside of an M2A1 metal shipping container. Observer-Controller/Trainers, here, are required to carry these pyrotechnics to pinpoint the location of Soldiers or vehicles that may be in need of assistance. The reusable inner packs improve safety by maintaining the integrity of the pyrotechnics inside the container, said Harvard Yeun of PM Close Combat Systems. The inner packs ensure that the emergency signal devices are ready when needed.
At any given time, up to 450 OC/T’s are supporting the 50,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that train at the NTC annually prior to their deployment. The VESK not only increases the safety and reliability of the pyrotechnics, but also reduces the time required for turn-in at the end of the NTC’s ten annual, 28-day, training rotations.
The time savings is significant, according to Col. James E. Kazmierczak, commander of 916th Support Brigade. Reducing the turn-in process from four hours to 20 minutes benefits not only the Ammo Supply Point personnel, but the OC/T’s coming in from the field, he said.
Kazmierczak also lauded the overworked and often underappreciated personnel of the Ammo Supply Point as team players, who were vital to the collaborative effort that ensured the successful development of this kit.
The cooperative effort between PM-Close Combat Systems and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is about keeping Soldiers safe, said Col. Richard A. Wilson, NTC Chief of Staff. Additionally, as the Army reshapes during a time of reduced spending, this project makes sense and passes the “3R” test as it is, reliable, re-sealable, and reusable, he said.
More than 650 Vehicle Emergency Signal Kits were recently assembled by the Fort Irwin Ammo Supply Point. Those kits will be issued for use during NTC’s Decisive Action training rotation beginning Oct. 22.