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Central Power Solution Training Course

Bullets and bombs are no longer the only risk to being in a war zone. Something as simple as taking a shower or washing a vehicle can claim the life of someone defending our Nation. These routine activities can become life threatening to Soldiers because of overloaded circuits, inadequate extension cords, and improperly emplaced breaker lines in the power system. Several Soldiers have died from electrocution caused by these problems.

Many Soldiers believe that since outlets are readily available, sufficient electricity is available. However, as technology continues to advance, the central power solution (CPS) or tactical power grids that supply power to these technologies have remained unchanged. The deaths of several servicemembers as a result is unacceptable, considering the simple safety procedures that could prevent such tragedies.

Addressing the Power Safety Problem
CPS errors led David Aebischer, the Communications-Electronics Command-Life Cycle Management Command (CECOM–LCMC) trail boss with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to believe that many servicemembers do not know how to emplace power grids properly. Properly installing power grids could save lives and prevent electrical fires.

Aebischer presented an idea to CECOM Information Technology Field Service Branch (IT–FSB) chief Bryan Ayer to create a power training course for an infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) CPS tactical operations center (TOC), which would be taught by CECOM IT–FSB power production instructors.

CPS Training
CECOM IT–FSB created the 2-week training course to teach Soldiers to install the CPS properly, based on many years of experience with power generation equipment in the field. Aebischer and Ayer targeted the Soldiers within the TOC for training because CPS installation does not fall under any military occupational specialty.

The American Trade School (ATS) from St. Louis, Missouri, has been contracted to provide training alongside the CECOM instructors during the first week of the course. ATS provides its best instructors for this training. All of the ATS instructors are veterans and truly enjoy training the Soldiers.

The first week consists of instruction in—

  • Electrical safety.
  • Basic electrical theory, consisting of units of measurement, electrical symbols, electrical theory, Ohm’s Law, electrical math, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) circuits, single-phase and 3-phase power, computing neutral current, load calculation, and load balancing.
  • National Electrical Code introduction.
  • Sizing conductors, ampacity, and voltage drop.
  • Circuit breakers and fuses, tools, and test equipment (such as multimeter, ammeter, and ground resistance tester).

In the second week of the course, the students receive more hands-on experience with power plants and electrical distribution systems. The week covers—

  • Grounding and bonding methods.
  • Preventive maintenance checks and services.
  • Safety.
  • Paralleling procedures. [Paralleling generators creates a backup power supply.]
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Power plant emplacement.
  • Power distribution illumination systems electrical emplacement.
  • Connecting the power grid.
  • The differences between generator models.

The 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th Brigade Combat Teams of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 101st Brigade Support Battalion have received the IBCT CPS TOC power training. This training has also been provided to several other units during their Joint Readiness Training Center rotations at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Currently, CECOM IT–FSB is providing all of the training during a unit’s Battle Command System of Systems Integration Training Event I.

Any unit can request this training through CECOM IT–FSB by calling (931) 216–9944 or (270) 798–9208 (DSN 635–9208) or by sending an email to bryan.ayer@us.army.mil.

Daniel R. Grachanin is a member of the Communications-Electronics Command Information Technology Field Service Branch power production team at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

 
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