CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
In Oct. 2004 a Marine was killed in a non-combat related humvee rollover near Abu Ghraib, Iraq. The Marine was manning a machine gun when the Humvee swerved to avoid a barrier and rolled over, ejecting him from the vehicle.
In May 2002, a Twentynine Palms Marine was killed and four others were injured in a rollover during a night raid exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Over the past decade, the Corps has comprised training events dedicated to preparing Marines to survive a rollover and continue on the mission. Marines conduct Dry Rollover Egress Training to prevent incidents like this from happening in combat situations or during training evolutions.
DRET consists of Humvee and mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle assistance training. The training starts with a class that discusses the causes of vehicle rollovers and the steps to take to get out of the vehicle and establish security.
“Rollovers can happen and they can be fatal,” said Sgt. Joseph Nicholas, the 1st ANGLICO assistant operations chief. “The Marines just need to trust their harnesses and be confident that they will get out and carry on with the mission.”
Following the class, Marines go through simulators to experience what it’s like to go through a rollover in a MRAP and Humvee.
“If you’re out there and you rollover, you need some kind of muscle memory to think back on,” said Cpl. William Thornton, a forward observer with 1st ANGLICO. “You have to take into consideration that you can’t let it get to you because you still have a job to do.”
DRET training also reinforces the importance of securing gear in the vehicle.
“We travel around with radios in our vehicles and sometimes we don’t secure them down,” Thornton said. “I would hate to think about rolling over in a vehicle and having one of them hit you in the face, because that could kill someone.”
The main priority of DRET training is to emphasize that safety is the most important part of a rollover.
“Safety is a big deal,” Nicholas said.“ We just want them to be safe and be able to carry on with the mission.”