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TCAPS Operational Training

Transcript

Wismann

From a job performance perspective, you can’t do your job if your hearing isn’t good. From a tactical perspective, it’s even more important. Hearing is one of our key senses – sight, sound, knowing what’s going on around you, situational awareness, all of it, predominantly affected by hearing.

Richardson

Hearing is very important to my job performance because we have to issue and receive a lot of orders, usually in a loud environment.

Wismann

You need to be able to hear commands that are coming to you all the time. The team leader’s yelling at you, the squad leader’s yelling at you; you need to hear the repercussion of rounds that are happening around you. All of that situational awareness is important to combat survival.

Anderson

If you could tell where the enemy’s firing from, or the fire commands, you can react accordingly, the soldiers can react.

Mejia

It’s important to have that 360 security, and hearing plays a big part in it.

Fortin

You gotta be able to hear incoming fire, outgoing fire, know which is which. And if you can’t effectively hear, then you don’t know which sounds are what, or where they’re coming from … and who’s talking to you – you can’t take orders and you can’t move.

Reinbold

I have to communicate with higher. I have to be able to tell them what’s going on with the battlefield as well as transmit that to my platoon, my company leadership.

Richardson

When you work around loud machinery such as our MRAV vehicles, or our automatic machine guns, they produce a lot of noise.

Wismann

We are constantly exposed, in any combat arms MOS, to loud noises – particularly percussion noises.

Dumas

The loudest noise hazards I’ve been exposed to has been mortar tubes.

Elledge

… PT 4 range, a rocket launcher range …

Dumas

… 240s and 50 cals …

Kokotan

That’s pretty loud.

Clark

The 240 Bravo, which is 7-6-2 ammunition used, and it’s basically the loudest that we have.

Sauerwald

As an AG you gotta lay next to the gun to be able to command and control rates of fire off your gunner. So that ejection port is right by your ear.

Wismann

There is so much that happens in our day-to-day environment that negatively impacts hearing. Just riding in up-armor vehicles, going to a simple static flat range, all of that can negatively impact a soldier’s hearing.

Reinbold

I definitely advocate using hearing protection on the battlefield; I know leadership does as well.

Dumas

Anybody who’s under me, I’m always making sure that they have hearing protection on them.

Kokotan

We go through checks and we have to have hearing protection with us.

Reinbold

As an infantryman, protecting your hearing is one of the most important things you can do.

Anderson

But on deployments, and during live fire ranges, it wasn’t as important, because everyone just decided not to wear it just because you couldn’t hear, you know, what was going on.

Wismann

Commonly, in tactical environments, soldiers will make the selection to go without hearing protection, instead of risking the loss of situational awareness.

Clark

Everything’s a little bit dulled down, when you have like any type of ear protection in.

Hungerford

Spur of the moment you might forget it, or you just might not even think about it. On patrol it’s kinda hard cause you don’t have time really to grab your ear protection and throw it in.

Anderson

I’ve been in two IED explosions, that I definitely did not have ear protection in then. And it’s one of those things where it can definitely hurt your hearing.

Fortin

Machine guns going off next to us and stuff. And because of the hearing protection that we weren’t wearing at that time, we decided just to skip the foam earplugs and go out without any hearing protection whatsoever. My ears were shot, and my buddy’s ears were shot. And we could not hear our team leader, our squad leader. And so here we are taking fire and we don’t know where they are. And he doesn’t know where we are because we can’t respond to him.

Wismann

The dangers of not having effective communication in a battlefield, in a tactical maneuver, obviously soldier safety. If you can’t communicate to that fire team, you can’t help them direct fires that will help get you out of a difficult situation.

Richardson

We got ambushed from the east side of the road, and I was not able to communicate to my driver effectively that he needed to stop the vehicle so that we could return fire. And because he didn’t hear the first three times I tried to communicate with him, we ended up travelling 300 meters down the road and being separated from the entire rest of our unit.

Wismann

If you can’t communicate to a fire team, you have no situational awareness of what their current status is.

Clark

So if my squad leaders cannot hear me – me trying to direct them which way to go – at that point I trust their judgment, but they may make a call on something that they don’t see that I see.

Kokotan

I mean, if they’re far away, and I have to yell something important to them, and they can’t hear me, you know, it doesn’t do any good.

Fortin

Communication in a large part is directly related to your situational awareness as far as auditory goes.

Wismann

In the past, the option has been either you wear hearing protection and you lose all of that situational awareness, or now, with the system like TCAPS, you can wear hearing protection and gain increased situational awareness.

Richardson

My first impression of TCAPS, the first time I utilized it, was I was really excited about it, and its capabilities based on what my company commander at the time had told me.

Anderson

We started using them with the Nett Warrior systems and how it tied in with the radios. Started becoming aware of it with the briefings that we were getting on it.

Richardson

It took me a little while to get adjusted to being able to use it, but once I was comfortable using the system I thought it was really great.

Wismann

TCAPS works from a safety perspective, from a hearing protection perspective. TCAPS functions by being an active system.

Fortin

So it’s gonna protect my hearing, and at the same time it’s gonna give me more effective means of communication.

Elledge

While you’re firing your weapon, it dampens the noise of your weapon and you can still hear it fire but it’s not to the point where it hurts your ears.

Anderson

Standing behind the machine gun team, it’s usually really loud, two or three machine guns firing at the same time. But with the TCAPS in, I can hear just fine, I can turn them down enough to where it doesn’t bother me at all and I can still talk to the guy next to me.

Richardson

A lot of times when you’re operating really loud machinery, like carbon rifles or automatic machine guns, you can have immediate short-term hearing loss. And I feel that with the application of TCAPS, I can preserve my hearing. That way, orders don’t have to be re-issued to me, or issued out multiple times, saving time on the battlefield and creating more efficiency.

Sauerwald

It definitely improved my job. I don’t have to worry about so much as what’s going around because I can hear it at all times while I’m shooting and moving and communicating. The gunfire isn’t so loud that I have to wait to stop shooting to be able to say something or hear something. It’s all going out at once, so it’s really nice, it makes things a lot quicker and smoother.

Wismann

Any system that allows us to gain some sort of tactical advantage, at the same time as protecting our hearing, is really important. It maintains soldier readiness, it improves situational awareness, there are no downsides.

Reinbold

The major advantages of TCAPS in an operational environment, for myself as an RTO, carrying a 1-5-5 dual-wavelength radio, is that I’m able to monitor two different frequencies at the same time.

Anderson

I can run two radios at the same time and communicate. And I can still hear what’s going on around me.

Wismann

Through ambient noise amplification, in addition to just passive situational awareness being improved, you can hear the enemy approaching; you can hear what direction the rounds are coming from. The other benefit of TCAPS is that even without radios, the ability of a soldier to communicate with his team leader or with his squad leader, 25, 50 yards away is significantly enhanced by TCAPS. There’s no need to yell, there’s no need to raise your voice. You can just increase your ambient noise amplification. And that’s incredibly valuable for inter-team, inter-squad communication.

Kokotan

My favorite thing about TCAPS is being able to hear further away.

Elledge

When we’re cleaning rooms, I can hear footsteps, you know, three rooms down the way from where I was.

Richardson

The further out I can hear in a very quiet situation like a patrol base, the sooner I can be aware to someone trying to maneuver on my position.

Wismann

Ultimately TCAPS has the ability to make our service members safer, in both a training environment and in a deployed environment. It can provide both protection as well as tactically decisive situational awareness improvement.

Wismann

Leaders absolutely have to lead by example in the implementation of TCAPS. Anytime you ask a soldier to do something new, it’s gonna be difficult. Change is always difficult.

Clark

Just like anything else, people are very hesitant with change.

Anderson

But it’s definitely important, you know, if I’m not doing it, they’re not gonna do it.

Wismann

Wearing the system demonstrates to soldiers that it is not an option, and that it has a genuine ability to improve performance.

Fortin

These new systems will do so much for their hearing.

Wismann

Really, the capability of the TCAPS is an all-inclusive system for both hearing protection and for communications, transmission, and receipt can’t be matched.

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