News>Kandahar Airfield's hidden gems: Egress training
Patrick Franko, the senior Mine Resistant Armored Protected egress trainer at Kandahar Airfield, uses a smoke machine to help simulate realistic rollover conditions during a training session June 11. All U.S. service members are required to conduct rollover training upon entry into a combat theatre.(U.S. Army National Guard photo/Spc. Tyler Meister)
Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, work quickly to remove themselves from an upside-down vehicle during Mine Resistant Armored Protected egress training on Kandahar Airfield, June 10. Students in the class experience the difficulties of realistic egress, including smoke effects and empty water bottles hampering their escape. (U.S. Army National Guard photo/Spc. Tyler Meister)
Patrick Franko, the senior instructor for the Mine Resistant Armored Protected egress training at Kandahar Airfield, watches closely as Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, escape from an upside-down trainer, June 10. Franko ensures everyone inside the trainer uses proper techniques to clear the vehicle. (U.S. Army National Guard photo/Spc. Tyler Meister)
by Spc. Tyler Meister
117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
6/20/2012 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Patrick Franko, the senior trainer for the Mine Resistant Armor Protected Egress Trainer here, recently proposed a deal with some of the Soldiers participating in his course.
If the Soldiers in the egress trainer could sing "Happy Birthday" to a sergeant loudly enough to hear through the MRAP's doors during the chaos of a roll over, he would abruptly end the extended rolling of the trainer.
To the Soldiers' dismay, once they reached their crescendo, Franko was quick to remind them of their priorities.
"You're not here to sing "Happy Birthday." I want to hear you yell 'rollover!'" Franko shouted.
Lighthearted moments are rare during egress training, which provides troops an opportunity to experience a rollover and practice escaping from overturned vehicles in a safe atmosphere.
Franko said many units are unaware of the egress training offered on KAF. All service members are eligible to participate in the training.
"We are here to teach service members how to react during the violence and chaos of a roll over," Franko said.
Every troop is required to go through some form of egress training upon entry into the combat theater. In addition to basic egress training, the instructors here can conduct advanced and specialized training specific to any unit.
Franko and Gary Pray, the site leader, are the two primary instructors. They offer a variety of courses, including: nighttime egress, extractions, K-9 training, and even special equipment training for units with special equipment loads.
The instructors aim to provide a realistic training environment.
"We add realistic features such as smoke, rolling water bottles, and strobe lights to make our training unique," Pray said.
The training is constantly updated with new information that prioritizes what's currently happening "outside the wire."
Franko said egress training is more complicated than it initially appears.
"Just saying 'I'll just pull my buddy out' isn't enough," Franko said. "When you are actually in that (rollover) situation, it's a lot more difficult to (extract yourself) than one thinks it would be."
Both instructors enjoy their jobs of providing life-saving training to service members.
"I want to stay busy. I'd get up at 2 a.m. if that's when Soldiers request training," Franko said
Both instructors are well known for their humor and engaging teaching styles.
Franko said there are several comments he hears during egress training that always leave him chuckling: "The three most common things I hear are: Soldiers calling out for momma, a group of females screaming at the top of their lungs, and people cussing me out for rolling them too many times."
For information on the egress training, call 079-830-1850 or write to email@example.com.
Next hidden gem in the series: the Medical Simulation Training Center.
7/4/2012 8:33:27 AM ET I'm proud to have a friend like Patrick Franco who serves for HIS country and to train people on how to react during chaos in a realistic environment.He deserve a vacation.Job well done More power God Bless America