Female body armor named among best inventions by Time Magazine

Members of the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade will be the first to test the new female body armor, which was named one of Time Magazine's best inventions of 2012, in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Members of the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade will be the first to test the new female body armor, which was named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2012, in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

NATICK, Mass.  — An innovation that will leave female Soldiers safer and more comfortable on the battlefield was named one of Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions of the Year 2012.”

A collaborative effort between the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center and Program Executive Office Soldier resulted in an improved outer tactical vest, or IOTV, designed specifically for women. The 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade will be the first unit to test the new female body armor in Afghanistan.

The new armor was designed to offer better protection and to prevent bruised hip bones that women experienced when wearing IOTVs meant to fit smaller men.

Maj. Joel Dillon, assistant product manager, Product Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, PEO Soldier, called the Time story a motivator for those involved in the body armor’s development.

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‘Ironman’ A game-changer on the battlefield

The Ironman system uses a MOLLE medium frame designed to carry up to 60 pounds. In addition to the cargo area for ammunition, Soldiers can carry at least two pouches for mission-essential gear. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

The Ironman system uses a MOLLE medium frame designed to carry up to 60 pounds. In addition to the cargo area for ammunition, Soldiers can carry at least two pouches for mission-essential gear. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MEHTAR Lam, Afghanistan — It all began during an intense 2 1/2-hour firefight with the enemy earlier this year in Afghanistan.

As members of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard, sat around later at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam and discussed the engagement, they talked about how three-man teams manning crew-served weapons struggled to stay together over difficult terrain in fluid battles.

Someone mentioned actor Jesse Ventura in the movie “Predator.” His character brandished an M-134 Mini-gun fed by an ammo box on his back. After the Soldiers had a good laugh over that thought, Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski asked why a gunner couldn’t carry a combat load of ammo. He decided to pursue the idea.

 

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Natick official named to Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council

Donna Bulger of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, receives congratulations from Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray after she was sworn in as a member of the Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Advisory Council. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Donna Bulger of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, receives congratulations from Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray after she was sworn in as a member of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Advisory Council. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

NATICK, Mass. — An official from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center was named to the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, Advisory Council in Massachusetts.

Donna Bulger, acting director, Business and Operations, NSRDEC, was sworn in by Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray in a recent ceremony at Natick Town Hall. Later, Murray talked of the longstanding relationship between Natick Soldier Systems Center and STEM.

“Governor Patrick and I value collaborating with our partners in both the public and private sectors,” said Murray, chair of the STEM Advisory Council. “We appreciate Donna’s leadership and participation on the STEM Council, and I look forward to working with her as we increase STEM awareness and promote opportunities for students to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.”

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NOVA features Natick food technologist’s ‘secret life’

 

Tom Yang, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center food technologist, stands in the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate lab, holding a piece of osmotic meat. He will be featured on NOVA's 'Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers," because of his karaoke hobby. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Tom Yang, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center food technologist, stands in the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate lab, holding a piece of osmotic meat. He will be featured on NOVA’s ‘Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers,” because of his karaoke hobby. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

NATICK, Mass. — As he described his work and personal life, Tom Yang asked, “So, am I a nerd?”

You decide.

Yang has been a food technologist at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center for 26 years. He came to the U.S. from Taiwan 36 years ago, where he had earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Fu-Jen Catholic University. Yang went to graduate school at Mississippi State University and earned a master’s degree in food science before going to the University of Illinois for his Ph.D. He then taught at the University of Maine for a few years.

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Army research centers partner for improved ammunition packaging

 

 U.S. Army research and development centers are collaborating to design new ammunition packaging that could yield significant cost savings and improve battlefield capability, officials said.

Two organizations within the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command — the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center — are developing a packaging system for 5.56-millimeter ammunition as an alternative to fabric bandoleers.

The new system is being developed for the Project Director Joint Services in support of the Program Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems. It could save considerable cost by using lightweight and inexpensive plastic packaging materials with a design that will allow for automated packing at the ammunition manufacturing plant, said Dan Klein, an engineer with ARDEC’s Packaging Division who serves as the program lead.

 To read more:

http://go.usa.gov/g3BC

Secretary of Defense tours RDECOM contributions to energy security

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta examines the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator Bravo at the Pentagon Oct. 4.

 WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta learned about the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s contributions to national energy security during a tour of exhibits at the Pentagon, Oct. 4.

Subject matter experts from three of RDECOM’s research centers — the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center; Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center — showcased the Army’s research on operational energy.

Read more on Army.mil

Army announces greatest inventions of 2011

Spc. Nicholas Ketchen and Spc. Colt Corbin, mortarmen from Company C, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, achieved a first in the U.S. Army history by firing a 120mm Mortar Precision Guided Munition for the first time in Afghanistan, and hitting within four meters of the target, on Forward Operation Base Kushamond, Afghanistan, March 26, 2011.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army officials announced the winners of its greatest inventions competition Sept. 19.

A team of combat veteran non-commissioned officers, as well as U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command field-grade officers, reviewed and voted for the Army Greatest Inventions of 2011.

Dale Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, commended the scientists and engineers for their efforts to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers.

“The contributions made by these teams promise to improve the well-being of Soldiers and the Army’s capability to contribute to quality of life and our national security,” Ormond said. “All of the nominated inventions demonstrate significant contributions to the warfighter.

 Read more on Army.mil 

Army research official visits Afghanistan

Cargo parachutes drop fuel to a combat outpost in Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2011. Army researchers are testing a quick release system to be fielded later this year.

Cargo parachutes drop fuel to a combat outpost in Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2011. Army researchers are testing a quick release system to be fielded later this year. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Maj. Matt DeLay)

 

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (June 25, 2012) — A senior research and development leader spoke with Army officials here June 11-13. Army leaders in the field are seeking technology solutions for complex challenges.

“The commanders have a need for low-cost quick release systems for airdrop bundles,” said Dr. Jack Obusek, Sc.D., U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center director. “A quick release system would prevent cargo from being swept out of friendly hands when parachutes get dragged on the ground in high wind conditions.”

Army researchers have been developing prototype quick release devices and has plans to provide a substantial number to U.S. troops in Afghanistan later this year.

“We’re looking to significantly accelerate this effort and checking whether our forward deployed research center or stateside prototype facilities can produce the prototypes,” he said.

Obusek also discussed a possible far forward medical aid capability package. The research center and the PM and the medical community have recently entered full production on a modular medical package that will provide near intensive care unit-like capabilities to Soldiers serving forward.

Obusek said he received positive feedback from Soldiers on the First Strike Ration and the Army Combat Shirt — two initiatives developed at Natick. He met with medical staff to discuss new materials for protective equipment and received many great ideas for future technology development.

Obusek leads an 800-person military and civilian workforce at NSRDEC, located in Natick, Mass. The center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command with the mission to maximize a Soldier’s survivability, sustainability, mobility and combat effectiveness.

This was Obusek’s first visit to Afghanistan since being named as the NSRDEC director in January 2011.

RDECOM senior NCO discusses command’s support in Afghanistan

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie, the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s senior noncommissioned officer, returned May 13 from a nine-day mission to Afghanistan.

In an interview with RDECOM public affairs, Beharie discussed how the command is providing the technological edge to Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

What were your objectives during your first visit to Operation Enduring Freedom as RDECOM’s command sergeant major?

“It was two-fold. First, we have folks who are doing great work in harm’s way, supporting the Warfighter. I wanted to pay them a visit, let them know who I am, and talk with them; get their concerns and issues they are dealing with; hear about some of the opportunities they had to support our Warfighter; technologies they were able to help field.

Second, [I wanted] to meet the senior enlisted Soldiers in the battlespace and hear from them how [RDECOM is] doing providing them the resources and technology to fight on the battlefield. That part is just as important. If they don’t know that we’re there or don’t know what value we add, we quickly become low-hanging fruit. As [the Army] ramps down in theater, we become the first to go home. That would be a tragedy to leave the Soldiers without the technology or the connection to the technology that we are able to give from our labs.”

As you talked with the Soldiers and civilians supporting OEF, what support do they need from RDECOM?

“When I was a Warfighter, I did not know what RDECOM provided me. Throughout the [Army Force Generation] process and the re-set process, there was a lot of technology that came my way that we, as a unit, had to integrate into our organization.

It’s the same thing with the Soldiers currently in theater. Some do not know RDECOM existed. They received technology and support from RDECOM, but we need to do better with our strategic communications and getting the word out. Part of my reasoning for going to theater is to get the word out [what] we, as RDECOM, provide and how we can better assist our Soldiers.”

How can RDECOM’s scientists and engineers in the United States do better to provide timely solutions to address these needs?

“I think the lines of communication, the resources that we have, and the reachback capability that we have to our labs, scientists and engineers — I think that is what we need to do better.
Our scientists and engineers are doing a fabulous job supporting our Warfighters. They come to work every day energized. For us to have the reachback from [Soldiers and commanders in] theater, our [Logistics Assistance Representative and Field Service Representatives] help by telling us where the gaps are. [We] fill those gaps in our labs with an emerging technology or [with] equipment we already built to increase capabilities on the battlefield. I think our scientists and engineers are doing a great job.”

Where in Afghanistan did you go?

“I had the opportunity to tour the entire breadth of Afghanistan where major commands are. Those are the hubs. If you get the commands and hubs to understand the type of support that we provide on a daily basis, that will proliferate across the subordinate commands.
We met with [Regional Command]-South and talked with them about our lines of effort and support. [We made] sure we are linked [for] them reaching back to us. They have several ways to get to us. The [Rapid Equipping Force] 10-liner will come back to us. The [Operational Needs Statement] [Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement] process will come back to us. Our [Science and Technology Assistance Teams] in theater will bring stuff back to us to action and provide material solutions to Warfighters.”

How does the RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center accomplish its mission of providing engineering solutions to Soldiers directly in theater?

“What a tremendous capability to our Soldiers. This is a big win for the Army. This is a battlefield enabler having the RFAST-C that forward in theater. In six months, they have done over 177 projects for theater. That is throughout the [Combined Joint Operation Area], throughout the battlespace. While I was there, they were working on projects for the [Afghanistan Working Group] for the Afghan Army. They are working on engineering projects for the Air Force’s AC-130.

You name it, they are working on it. You have a Soldier who walks up to the RFAST-C and says, ‘Hey, I have a problem.’ I met that Soldier, a specialist. He showed me how he came up with the design, his drawings, what he envisioned, and the problem he had. He walked up to one of our engineers and said, ‘Hey, here is a problem that I have. Here is what I think a solution could be. Can you do something about this?’ Our scientist said, ‘Absolutely we can do something about it.’ They put the engineering mental muscle behind it and came up with a great product to fill that Soldier’s problem. This proliferates on the battlefield. It was a game-changer. This was an adjustment that had to be made because of new technology that we sent to theater to protect our Soldiers. We had to adjust how we placed certain items on vehicles.

I cannot speak enough about how great of a resource [the RFAST-C] it is for theater. I spoke to RC-South, RC-East, RC-Capital. I’ve talked to every command, all the way through [International Security Assistance Force] Command, and they all are singing the praises of what we are doing in theater.”

How will RDECOM leverage the experience gained from establishing RFAST-C in OEF to set up a similar capability for future Army or joint operations?

“The Army is looking at what it calls ‘RFAST-C in a Box.’ It probably will not have all the capabilities that our current RFAST-C has, but it will have a lot of those capabilities. There are some capabilities that the Army had previously within the [Army Field Support Brigades] that are provided in theater; however, not in the quality and quantity that is provided through the RFAST-C. With our emerging technologies, I can see sometime in the future that we are going to have an ‘RFAST-C in a Box’ traveling around the battlespace. I think this was the birth of a great idea that will help the Warfighter for a long time to come.”

How can RDECOM continue to share its initiatives and contributions with the Army?

“[RDECOM Director] Mr. [Dale] Ormond sat down with the Board of Directors and came up with six lines of effort. One of the lines of effort is strategic communications. I think I can impact that in a big way through the senior enlisted leaders engagement throughout the Army.

Seeing the senior enlisted leaders in theater is great. However, I think that communication needs to start back here at home. One of the initiatives that I have started is to go out and see the divisions and the major unit commands at home before they go to theater. Let them know what we are and what we do. The Army has an educational process for deployers. Give them ways that they can enhance the performance of their Soldiers and equipment on the battlefield. One of those resources is RDECOM.

I think that we need to make ourselves part of that educational process. Let RDECOM be one of those stops that those commands will make prior to going to theater. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be an enormous game-changing opportunity for those commands. I will take the message out and let them know what we are, who we are, and what we can do for them as they fight our nation’s wars.”

Army scientists develop deployable renewable-energy solutions

 

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers stationed in remote combat outposts face logistics and safety challenges to power their radios, laptops and GPS units.

U.S. Army scientists are researching methods to harness the sun and wind to ease the burdens associated with transporting fossil fuels to dangerous areas.

Marnie de Jong, an electrical engineer with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, is helping to develop renewable-energy based microgrids that work independently of traditional grid power.

Microgrids help to integrate different sources of energy for more efficient use and storage, she said.

“There has been a larger demand from the field for fuel reduction and power in remote locations,” de Jong said. “As that demand has increased, we have increased our focus in those areas.

“Microgrids will be able to take solar, wind and batteries and use them together. You can use solar when there is no wind available. Different pieces of the puzzle work better in different places. By making this a solution set, you can take what you need given your location.”

To provide alternative power sources to Soldiers in combat, de Jong and her colleagues at RDECOM’s Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are developing two systems — Reusing Existing Natural Energy from Wind and Solar, or RENEWS, and Renewable Energy for Distributed Undersupplied Command Environments, or REDUCE.

EASING LOGISTICS CHALLENGES

CERDEC started work on RENEWS in 2009 under an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act program for photovoltaics in which it partnered with RDECOM’s Army Research Laboratory and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. The team has developed RENEWS prototypes and is finishing internal testing, de Jong said.

Units are being sent for operational assessments from Soldiers at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., and U.S. Africa Command.

“The RENEWS system is completely renewable energy [with] solar and wind components,” de Jong said. “It’s meant for smaller, mostly communications systems in very remote locations that are difficult to get to re-supply fuel or [where] it might be dangerous. It would be a self-sustaining system.”

RENEWS is designed to power two or three laptops continuously as long as there is power coming daily from the solar panels or wind turbine, she said. The storage component will be able to provide power at peak demand for about five hours when energy is not being generated by the renewable components.

The RENEWS components weight about 100 pounds, and it is stored in two cases weighing about 70 pounds each.

The Army intends the RENEWS and REDUCE systems to be complementary, resulting in power-grid technology that addresses power generation, distribution, load, renewables and storage.

A major concern for military logisticians is securing routes for fuel-truck convoys. According to Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, environment and technology, said one in 46 convoys suffers a casualty.

“There will be a reduction in fuel that is necessary for regular operations,” de Jong said. “That is one of the major concerns in the field in transporting fuel — logistics and safety. We are working to reduce fuel consumption by supplementing generators with renewable energy sources.”

INTEGRATED, INTELLIGENT POWER SYSTEMS

Work on the three-year REDUCE program is in the early stages, de Jong said. It is designed to be towed on a Humvee trailer.

“The key behind the system is the intelligent power management and distribution, as well as the plug and play capability for devices. Automatic-device detection and power distribution make it a network of power systems that is capable of adjusting based on mission demands and needs,” she said.

The REDUCE integrates renewables with traditional fossil-fuel generators to reduce consumption. The goal is to ease the Soldier’s work by having the system manage all the power.

“The problem with a lot of [Army] systems is that they don’t all work together. Pieces from one don’t necessarily work with pieces from another,” de Jong said. “You can’t get two systems to parallel when they’re made from different places.

“Under the REDUCE system, we’re looking to make that all happen automatically. We [will] have an interface defined for all the systems components such that you don’t run into the problem where the different pieces don’t work together.”

UNBURDENING THE SOLDIER

Scientists and engineers across the Army focus on removing obstacles for Soldiers. By integrating smart power systems, CERDEC’s aim is to allow Soldiers to concentrate on their missions instead of monitoring power systems.

“One of the biggest challenges is getting different systems to work together,” de Jong said. “It’s really frustrating for Soldiers in the field when they just want to use this cable with this battery, and it doesn’t work. One of the major technical challenges is having standardization for interfaces and smarts that make all the pieces work seamlessly so the Soldier doesn’t have to configure anything.

“Soldiers will appreciate the plug and play capability. They don’t need to be an expert in power systems. They can just turn it on, and it gives them situational awareness into their power systems. It will report back to them what is going on and if there is a problem.”

REDUCING ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT

The RENEWS and REDUCE systems will also contribute to the Army’s goal of increasing energy efficiency and lessening the reliance on fossil fuels, she said.

“Renewable energy solutions are helping to reduce the carbon footprint. They generate energy more efficiently on-site from renewable sources. It’s good for the Army, good for the Soldier, and good for the environment,” de Jong said.

Four RDECOM Soldiers vie for command honors

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Four enlisted Soldiers will test their physical fitness, endurance, technical aptitude and reasoning skills March 26 to 30 for top honors within the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

On a sunny, cool and breezy morning, three staff sergeants and one private first class kicked off the five-day competition for RDECOM Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year.

Vying for the awards are:

— Staff Sgt. Sharalis Canales, a behavioral health NCO assigned to Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center at Natick, Mass. She is from New York City and has six years of service.

— Staff Sgt. Christopher Duff, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader assigned to the EOD Technology Directorate at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. He is from Riner, Va., and has eight years of service.

— Staff Sgt. Markus Whisman, a research and development adviser assigned to Army Research Laboratory at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. He is from Palm Bay, Fla., and has seven years of service.

— Pfc. Joshua Inserra, a signal support systems maintainer assigned to Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at APG. He is from Yerington, Nev., and has one year of service.

They began with the Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by weapons qualification at an ARL small-arms target range. RDECOM NCOs Sgt. Maj. William Tager and Sgt. 1st Class Chris Currie supervised the M-4 Rifle marksmanship test, as well as an M-240B Machine Gun function check that included loading, unloading and correcting malfunctions.

The participants will continue with tasks that examine their physical and mental abilities: a land-navigation course at Lauderick Creek Training Site, obstacle course at Gunpowder Military Reservation, Warrior tasks within training scenarios, 12-mile road march with 40-pound rucksack, essay and written exam, media interview and board appearance.

RDECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie will preside over an awards ceremony March 30. The winners will advance to the Army Materiel Command NCO and Soldier of the Year competition.

New command sergeant major assumes role at RDECOM

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command introduced its new senior noncommissioned officer to the community March 16.
Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert O. Beharie assumed duties as the leader of RDECOM’s enlisted Soldiers during a Change of Responsibility ceremony at the Post Theater. About 150 Soldiers and Army civilian employees welcomed Beharie to RDECOM and APG.

MARIN BIDS FAREWELL

Beharie takes over from Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Marin. The Army promoted Marin to the rank of command sergeant major in 1999, and he has served as RDECOM’s senior NCO since Aug. 5, 2007.

A native of Honduras who moved to New York City at age 10, Marin enlisted in September 1981. He described his journey from a child through his three decades as a Soldier stationed across the globe.

“My journey began a long time ago when I first got to this great country. I felt a sense of duty immediately,” Marin said. “I wanted to give back to this nation for what was given to me — an opportunity to get an education, an opportunity to live free in a democratic country, a place where opportunities to excel are endless, an opportunity to serve and sacrifice for the good of all citizens of this nation. I joined the Army as part of this sense of duty. I wanted to ensure those who came before me who may have lost their lives did not do so in vain.

“As a young boy living in Honduras, I used to chase helicopters down the street. I was very fascinated by that piece of machinery. I always wondered, ‘How can something like that hang up in the sky and fly?’ So when I entered the United States and began my studies in New York, I had my eyes on becoming an aviator. Through hard work, perseverance and encouragement from family, I managed to meet the qualifications to enter the Army as an aviator. Here I am today.”

Marin thanked his fellow NCOs for their efforts to interact with RDECOM’s scientists and engineers to ensure the success of the command’s mission to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers.

“Since my arrival here, I quickly got engaged with our noncommissioned officers to ensure we understood our role in providing our engineers and scientists with relevant feedback to assist with the development of new technology and delivering it to the hands of Warfighters,” Marin said. “Our noncommissioned officers have a vital role in making sure that RDECOM is technology driven and always Warfighter focused.”

BEHARIE TAKES OVER AS SENIOR NCO

Beharie will lead the command’s 80 enlisted Soldiers at its APG headquarters and seven research centers with offices around the world. The command sergeant major serves as the principal adviser to the director in enlisted matters. He is responsible for the training, professional development, retention, readiness and discipline of Soldiers under his charge.

Beharie said he has been impressed by the passion of RDECOM scientists and engineers to support those in uniform.

“I have had some great opportunities to serve over my military career. However, serving as RDECOM sergeant major is a dream job,” Beharie said. “This organization and its professional workforce touch the lives of all the men and women in the Armed Forces, as well as our nation.

“Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit some of our labs and meet some of our men and women who work tirelessly to give our troops the fighting edge on the battlefield. I was blown away by the technology that they have developed and are currently working on.”

Beharie will report to RDECOM Director Dale Ormond, who replaced Maj. Gen. Nick Justice as the organization’s senior leader Feb. 10. Ormond thanked Marin for his dedication to the Army, RDECOM and Soldiers.

“What a terrific story of Command Sergeant Major Marin. [He is] a terrific Soldier and a leader of Soldiers,” Ormond said. “He wanted to give back for the opportunities that America gave him. He has connected our scientists and engineers to the Soldiers, communicating with Soldiers and talking to them about what their real issues, challenges and needs are. [He made] sure that was funneled back into us so that we have that connection to what is going on in theater.

“[He made] tremendous personal efforts to stand up the RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He helped put in place how we as RDECOM solve materiel [problems] at the point of need.”

In one of his first official duties, Beharie will oversee RDECOM’s annual Noncomissioned Officer/Soldier of the Year Competition at APG March 26 to 31. Five enlisted Soldiers will compete in a physical fitness test, weapons range, land navigation, obstacle course, 12-mile ruck march, essay and written exam, media interviews, and board appearance.

Beharie has served as the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade’s command sergeant major at Fort Campbell, Ky., since April 2009. He enlisted in 1986 and has four combat tours in the Persian Gulf.

Beharie and his wife, Sabrina, have three children.

DoD recognizes Combat Feeding Directorate

 

Mr. Anthony Patti, EET Project Officer, accepts the SBIR Achievement Award for development of the Combined Heat and Power System, from Dr. Scott Fish, DoD Chief Scientist (right)
Mr. Anthony Patti, EET Project Officer, accepts the SBIR Achievement Award for development of the Combined Heat and Power System, from Dr. Scott Fish, DoD Chief Scientist (right)

Submitted by Paul DellaRocca, Equipment and Energy Technology Team, Combat Feeding Directorate, Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 20, 2011, representatives of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center – Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate attended the Small Business Innovation Research Achievement Awards ceremony held at the Pentagon to receive two awards.  The ceremony is held annually to highlight the most successful SBIR Phase II projects, defined as those that successfully matured the most innovative technologies from the concept stage into successful demonstration prototypes, and which show the most promise for moving that equipment into the hands of the Warfighter.

The Army Achievement Awards are highly competitive: this year of the 649 projects eligible to compete for an award, 11 recipients were selected for this prestigious award across the Department of Defense and the NSRDEC’s.  The Combat Feeding Directorate received two awards for: Combined Heat and Power System (CHPS), and Ethylene Control in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

John P. Pucci, Operations Manager for SBIR Program Management Office, began the proceedings and introduced Dr. Scott Fish, DoD Chief Scientist, who presided over the event.  Major General Justice, Commanding General of the Research, Development and Engineering Command, and Dr. John Glenn, Principal Assistant for Research and Technology, US Army Medical Research Materiel Command were also in attendance.  The Army SBIR Program Management Office ensures that noteworthy Phase II projects receive widespread recognition. The office prepares an SBIR Achievement Award Winners brochure recognizing the top projects.

Anthony Patti, EET Senior Project Officer, was in attendance to accept an award for his work on the CHPS program.  The CHPS technology provides clean, quiet, and reliable electrical power that also cogenerates heat into hot water or space-heating, thus maximizing the system efficiency well beyond other energy producing equipment. This program successfully integrated an innovative external combustion Free-Piston Stirling Engine designed for low cost mass-production as a solar dish engine product into a JP-8 fueled CHPS to deliver electricity and useful hot water simultaneously. Stirling-engine technology has progressed into Phase III under an SBIR Commercialization Pilot Program contract with Infinia Corporation of Kennewick, WA.  The prototype CHPS is scheduled for demonstration and testing in early FY12.

Peter Lavigne, EET Senior Project Officer, received an award for his contributions to the Ethylene Control program. This program, in partnership with Primaira, LLC, was recognized for its development of a low cost, compact, low-power technology that maximizes the shelf-life and quality of fresh produce being transported to our troops around the world.  The successful development of the Bluezone™ technology has recently been demonstrated in full-scale, side-by-side comparative testing and has proven that the Bluezone™ technology safely and cost effectively removes ethylene, inhibits microbial growth, and improves the quality and longevity of fresh fruits and vegetables. This technology has benefits along the entire storage, distribution, transport, and end-use supply chain.

Popular Science: New smart parachute improves airdrop accuracy

Smart Tech Paraglides

FireFly in Flight Any airdrop system, like this 2,000-pound FireFly system manufactured by Airborne Systems in Pennsauken, NJ, can be outfitted with new control software developed by Draper Laboratory. U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center

Popular Science reports: “New algorithms allow a pallet to fly like a paraglider and land with supreme accuracy, according to the nonprofit research lab that designed them. Supply delivery is getting much more precise — within a few feet to a hundred yards of a target (the exact numbers are classified). What’s more, the same technology could improve disaster relief and humanitarian missions, and even lead to smarter, more independent UAVs.”

Read more…

Media Report: NSRDEC testing HULC robotic exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin's ruggedized HULC robotic exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin's ruggedized HULC robotic exoskeleton

From technology blog Gizmag: “Following lab evaluation tests, Lockheed Martin’s ruggedized HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) robotic exoskeleton is now undergoing biomechanical testing at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts. The biomechanical testing will assess the effectiveness of the HULC in improving the endurance and reducing the risk of injury to soldiers by comparing the performance of soldiers carrying identical loads, both with and without the device.”

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Army researchers develop futuristic helmet

Army researchers develop futuristic helmet

WASHINGTON — Imagine a future when a Soldier’s helmet is an integrated communications center with a heads-up computer display, night vision, thermal sensors and enhanced hearing. That future is nearer than many think.

During the 2010 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting Oct. 25-27 at the Washington Convention Center, civilian researchers from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center displayed futurist equipment design concepts to senior Army leaders, congressional staffers and Soldiers attending the show.

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Media Report: Army plans Natick Labs upgrade

RDECOM Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Harry Greene recently talked with the Boston Globe about Natick. “The Army recently opened its Natick installation to the public to unveil a modernization plan that it says will allow the circa-1950s facility to attract top talent to research and design food, shelter, and gear for America’s soldiers,” writes Megan McKee for the Globe.

“Though the installation has no money earmarked for the changes, developing the plan is the most important step to secure funding from the government, officials said. The Natick Soldier Systems Center, or Natick Army Labs, as it’s commonly known, is responsible for developing the bulk of the food, shelter, and clothing used by the military branch.”

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Combat feeding officials discuss military rations history, future

Natick officials talk combat feeding

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Meeting the nutritional needs and taste preferences of 1.9 million Warfighters every day is vital to America’s success in battlefield missions, combat feeding officials said.

“The most important thing on the battlefield is to unburden, empower and protect the Soldiers,” said Jeremy Whitsitt, program outreach and education coordinator for the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

CFD personnel are continually trying to improve field rations to please their customers – Warfighters.

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Massachusetts High School Seniors Create the Emergency Rescue Assistant

Massachusetts High School Seniors Create the Emergency Rescue Assistant

NATICK, Mass. — Darren O’Neil, Ivan Yu and Dianna Willms are typical high school students, except for the fact that all three received gold medals at the national level for their work on a life-saving device.

Their innovation is called the Emergency Rescue Assistant and it has the capability to increase the chance of survival for victims of cardiac arrest. Team member Ivan Yu is a lifeguard and came up with the idea two years ago after realizing that it was difficult to remember the different algorithms for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and rescue breathing.

According to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, less than one percent of bystanders have had CPR training, and of those, fewer than ten percent retained the knowledge even a few months after training.

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