IZKI, OMAN, –
Familiar faces and familiarization training is how day one of the Heavy Equipment Transport System (HETS) subject matter exchange began, with U.S. Army Soldiers introducing themselves to members of the Royal Army of Oman (RAO). Some Omani Soldiers needed no introduction from the instructors, as they attended the initial training given in January.
The event launched with a demonstration given by Sgt. 1st Class Chad Collins on how to remove HETS tire covers, the first step taken when replacing the vehicle's tires. The HETS is made up of two systems: the HET Tractor, which has 8 tires, and the trailer, which has twenty.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Jones, 524th Support Battalion, vouched for the capabilities of the HETS, recalling a mission during a previous deployment where it was used to recover a downed helicopter.
“We got sent out to go pick it up and because of the size of the truck and the load it can haul, we were able to recover that helicopter so it didn’t fall into the enemy’s hands.”
The HETS has two main winching systems, each with a 55,000-pound capacity. They are used to load and unload heavy tracked and wheeled vehicles weighing up to 140,000 pounds.
Without this particular piece of equipment, operators would not be able to properly conduct recovery operations, Jones said.
“The winching system is a very important piece of the HETS it allows us to recover equipment” said Jones. “Especially if it’s nonmission capable or disabled."
The best way to train is to providing real-world experience for common repairs, and on day two of the exchange, Soldiers of the 1245th Transportation Company and 524th Support Battalion assisted Omani Soldiers with correcting system deficiencies on the system they were physically training on. In less than 12 hours, the vehicle was back to mission capable status.
No easy feat, the task involved using a team of Soldiers to pull a winching cable far enough to reach a forklift, which, once attached, slowly pulled the cable back while another team used tools to pry the cable back on to the spool. As Omani Soldiers pried the last bit of cable back onto the winching wheel, they burst into a cheer celebrating the accomplishment.
A similar reaction occurred on day three once RAO Soldiers were able to remove a tire from a rim, carefully following direction given by the instructors.
Chief Warrant Officer Albert Arias explains why removing the Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) is an important step. “If you don’t take that off first you’ll break it, once you start prying on it you’ll break it."
Sgt. Brandon Pursell, 1245th Transportation Company, explained that the procedure the Omani Soldiers executed are different in that a full tire system replacement. He went on to explain issues that may arise when replacing individual parts.
“I don’t think they understood the full grasp of what they would run into.“ Pursell said, referring to swapping out separate pieces of the tire assembly.
“You could damage the studs by flipping it over, you could mushroom them so you can’t get the lug nuts back on, you could pinch the O-ring, not to mention people could get hurt trying to use power tools rather than purchasing the whole assembly” said Pursell.
Day four’s training was mainly comprised of HETS instrument board familiarization, as part of the train the trainer portion of the exchange. Since the truck is manufactured in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the technical manual is printed in English, this training helped bridge the gap for RAO Soldiers.
After breaking up into two groups Omani Soldiers filled the cab of the HET tractor to receive instruction by Jones and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Davis, 524th Support Battalion, where they were able to get answers to questions they previously had no way of asking.
Maj. Mohammed Rashid Al Abri, Royal Omani Army, expressed appreciation on behalf of the RAO Soldiers and said he “wishes the duration of training was longer" while expressing his satisfaction with the “specialized team,” referring to the American Soldiers.
“We really gained experience and friendship with the Americans, who did a great job in this camp,” said Rashid Al Abri.