FAIRBORN — The mission was one that highlighted humanitarianism — “war fighters” were tasked with delivering medical supplies to a village located in-between battle zones while defending themselves against IEDs and bullets from adversaries.
But these war fighters are not military members and the village is on the campus of the National Center of Medical Readiness at Calamityville. It was the home of the Tech Warrior exercises Sept. 19-29, giving individuals who develop military technologies the opportunity to experience battle field scenarios to develop stronger, more efficient tools for those in real war zones.
“Most of the time, the scientist, engineers or people within acquisition community have little background in the operation or what it means to be an actual war fighter,” said Lt. Col. David Shahady, Tech Warrior Exercise commander. “So we try to create this environment where we can immerse them in the operational environment … They get a chance to walk in the shoes of the war fighter. Not for the purposes of being trained for combat but rather to be able to understand what the war fighter looks like.”
Each participant ate, slept and lived on the grounds during the exercises. They would be briefed each day on a mission, then would be assigned with completing the given task while testing newly developed equipment. Ten women participated in Tech Warrior this year, which officials said is the most they’ve ever had. Last year included three while the year before that included just one.
They were equipped with an Eccrine Sweat Band to track the amount of sweat they were losing to prevent overheating. Shahady said as a result, no participant suffered from heat-related health concerns. They also consumed Meals-Ready-to-Eat but were also testing a new brand called Field Fuel which highlighted healthy options. Sinclair Community College additionally had Unmanned Aerial System technicians flying the camera-equipped technology that provided a live feed of what was taking place on the grounds.
These were just a few examples of the equipment being tested.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring new technologies in to try and to test those out,” Shahady said.
One participant pointed out how it was difficult to press a button on a piece of equipment while wearing gear aimed at protecting individuals against chemical attacks, causing the participant to have to take off a glove to complete the task at hand which could be dangerous and time consuming in a war scenario. Shahady said the participant taking note of this would spark inspiration to develop easier-to-press buttons, which he added is a goal of the exercise.
“They’re learning what it is to be a war fighter,” Shahady said. “The [goal] is not to make them into combat soldiers but to make them [think] when they sit down at the table designing a piece of equipment, they’re thinking in the mind of what it would be like to be a war fighter.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.