Virginia Guard MPs train on new Armored Security Vehicles

Virginia Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company conduct a live fire exercise Oct. 18 at Fort Pickett as part of the new equipment training process on their newly-acquired M1117 Armored Security Vehicles. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – The Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company conducted new equipment training with their newly-acquired M1117 Armored Security Vehicles Oct. 9-19 at Fort Pickett, Va. The 229th MPs recently received 12 ASVs and both vehicle maintainers and operators have been learning their way around the massive, multi-ton vehicles.

“We’re here for a 10-day ASV class that shows us how to operate and maintain the vehicle,” explained Sgt. Ralph Jarrell, a military police officer in the 229th and a student in the ASV operators course. “It’s going really good.”

The ASV is an armored and turreted all-wheel drive vehicle, weighing in at over 30,000 pounds when equipped with a full combat load. It is designed to support military police and convoy missions and can be equipped with both an M2 .50 caliber machine gun and an MK19 grenade machine gun, both of which the MPs had a chance to fire during a live fire exercise Oct. 18-19. The turret on the ASV is fully enclosed, for maximum safety of the gunner, and the vehicle has a range of over 400 miles.

The maintenance portion of the new equipment training included Soldiers from units and field maintenance shops from around the commonwealth and was taught at Fort Pickett’s Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site. There, the mechanics received a thorough review of the vehicle’s capabilities and received ample hands-on training that allowed them to learn how to effectively maintain the vehicles.

“These are kind of new to me, and this is actually the first time I’ve had any experience with them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Lynch, a motor sergeant in the 229th MP Co., of the massive ASVs. “But this is a great class we’re getting and we really appreciate it. The instruction is great and we’re getting a lot of hands-on time.”

The vehicle maintainers worked on a wide variety of systems within the ASVs, learning their way through basic and advanced ASV maintenance procedures, and got the chance to remove both the turret and the engine from the vehicles.

The operators course, taught across post, focused on how to efficiently operate the ASV, and included both classroom and hands-on training.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Spc. Marvin Gregory, a military police officer in the 229th.

Vehicle operators learned the basic capabilities of the ASV, learned and practiced the procedures for conducting preventative maintenance checks and services on the vehicles, drove the vehicles and conducted a live fire exercise, enabling them to fire both weapons systems from the ASV turret.
“It was awesome,” said Spc. Mark Cavaliero, a military police officer in the 229th, after firing both the MK19 and M2 from inside the ASV. “It’s one nice piece of machinery.”

The benefit of adding the ASV to the 229th’s arsenal is that the massive vehicles are significantly safer than vehicles like the Humvee.

“It can pretty much go into places that the Humvee can’t,” explained Master Sgt. Robert Mullins, operations sergeant for the 529th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion. “It’s more secure than the Humvee and they can go into more unsecured places than the Humvee can.”

The fully enclosed turret allows for a far safer environment for the gunner than one would find in a Humvee.

“If you’re taking rounds during a firefight you’ve got scopes inside to be able to see exactly what you’re firing at without ever having to put your body outside the vehicle,” Cavaliero said. “You’re much safer in one of these.”

More photos from the training:

Virginia Guard mechanics, operators gain familiarity with new ASV – Oct. 12, 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631776728310/

Virginia MPs live fire from new Armored Security Vehicles – Oct. 18, 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631805397943/

About Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti

Sgt. 1st Class Terra Gatti is the Social Media NCO for the Virginia National Guard Public Affairs team. She can be reached via email at terra.c.gatti.mil@mail.mil.