A civilian engineer’s journey to Afghanistan

Robert McFarlane, an engineer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, deployed to Afghanistan to provide Soldiers with engineering solutions in the field.

Robert McFarlane, an engineer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, deployed to Afghanistan to provide Soldiers with engineering solutions in the field.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (April 4, 2013) — Much like Soldiers who find ways to make things happen under battlefield conditions, a team of engineers and technicians deployed with Soldiers apply their skills and knowledge to find a rapid solution to problems that Soldiers bring to them.

To Stephen McFarlane, a mechanical engineer from Picatinny Arsenal, a major allure of such a team was meeting the immediate needs of the Soldiers without involving the “higher up guys,” who typically make the decisions that keep the high-quantity, big-ticket hardware moving through the acquisition process.

But instead of having the items pass muster with the Army Test and Evaluation Command, field commanders had the latitude to decide whether small quantities of items born from a need to solve a field problem would become part of the unit’s equipment.

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Natick wounded warrior, Reservist deploying to Afghanistan

Brian Scott, who works at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, is deploying to Afghanistan as a Reservist with the 344th Military Police Company. During a 2008 deployment to Iraq, Scott's life was saved by his Advanced Combat Helmet during an improvised explosive device attack.

Brian Scott, who works at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, is deploying to Afghanistan as a Reservist with the 344th Military Police Company. During a 2008 deployment to Iraq, Scott’s life was saved by his Advanced Combat Helmet during an improvised explosive device attack. Photo Credit: David Kamm, NSRDEC Photographer

NATICK, Mass. (April 2, 2013) — Staff Sgt. Brian Scott is getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan as a squad leader with the 344th Military Police Company, an Army Reserve unit out of Massachusetts, after being wounded in Iraq only five years ago.

On Aug. 28, 2008, Scott’s four-vehicle convoy was on a mission to an Iraqi police station. The vehicles were cutting across two main supply routes to get to the station. Scott was in the second vehicle, and an improvised explosive device, known as an IED, went off between his vehicle and the first vehicle.

“We had to stop and set up security and make calls to (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and get an outer perimeter security out there,” Scott said. Iraqi National Police took care of outer perimeter security, but “they weren’t fully doing the job at the time, so I was in charge of interpreters.”

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Army technology heading to Haiti

Army technology heading to Haiti
CERDEC’s Cerberus system, along with a support engineer, is standing by to deploy to Haiti with the 82nd Airborne Division. Cerberus is a system of integrated sensors that provides perimeter surveillance

The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is deploying the Cerberus system and a support engineer to Haiti with the 82nd Airborne Division. Cerberus is a system of integrated sensors that provides perimeter surveillance. RDECOM has surveyed all of its centers and labs to assemble a list of relevant capabilities that could be of service in relief and recovery efforts. CERDEC’s Cerberus is only the first of those resources tapped to deploy.  At last report the engineer was standing by for a deployment flight.

CERDEC officials say their employees have reported more than 10 deaths of family members in Haiti. Like many others afflicted by this tragedy, they are awaiting word from relatives and friends they’ve lost contact with in Haiti.

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