SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – Airmen from the 4th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) and Goldsboro Police Department Emergency Response Team (ERT) participated in joint training inside the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Participants received classroom instruction and hands-on street and off-road driving to improve their ability to handle a top-heavy vehicle.
The training gives ERT members vehicle familiarization, knowledge on basic maintenance and driver safety instruction. Additionally, the training is an opportunity for Airmen and local law enforcement to build upon their working relationship.
The MRAP is not an everyday vehicle for police officers. The vehicle weights between 34,000 and 48,000 pounds, has a 370-375 horsepower engine, operates at a range of 300-370 miles and can carry a payload of up to 4,000 pounds. It provides a mission platform capable of mitigating improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, explosively formed penetrators, underbody mines and small arms fire threats.
“We are adjusting to an extremely top-heavy vehicle,” said Corporal Jason Booker, Goldsboro Police Officer. “This training gets our team a little more experience with handling a foreign piece of equipment in a safe manner and learning its capabilities so we can utilize it to the best of our abilities on the civilian side.”
The SFS Airmen instructing the training explained safety first as the primary focus.
“You want to keep everyone safe inside of the vehicle and you want to make sure everyone surrounding it is also taken into consideration,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Barnard, 4th Security Forces Squadron Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of supply. “There are a lot of blind spots on the vehicle and it’s not something everyone drives every single day. Safety is the number one concern and bring familiar with the vehicle and its working is key.”
In the military, The MRAP is primarily used in combat environments at deployed locations. Its role is to provide light forces with protected mobility and mounted firepower to perform wide area security while countering threats employing asymmetric tactics. While the MRAP can be utilized for security purposes by the police, the security function is not their primary use.
“Primarily, it is a high-water rescue vehicle,” said Booker. “We have quite a few rivers around the city here that tend to rise above the banks when we have inclement weather. We noticed there was a need for something that could go through a little more than six inches of water. The Fire Department can’t be everywhere with their boats.”
In addition to preparing the Goldsboro ERT members to be proficient with the MRAP, the training also presented the opportunity for relationship building between the two teams.
“Inevitably we are going to work together so we have to cultivate that relationship,” said Booker. “We have got to continue to work together because the more we work together the better military servicemembers understand our capabilities and the better we understand the capabilities and we are not looking at each other expecting each other to do things we can’t do. We are building communication and opening a gateway.”
Not only is training great for building the relationship between the two departments it was also fun.
“I always love doing training with our civilian counterparts whether it be Goldsboro Police or Wayne County Sheriff’s office it’s always a great time when we can get together and share training experiences or just real-world experiences,” said Barnard. “It’s a really fun time.”
To see the MRAP in action, check out our video on Facebook!