A demonstration of gear, gadgets and gizmos here Sept. 17-21 gave Marines and sailors a first glimpse at potential energy solutions for the Corps' operating forces.
Fourteen different companies showcased their commercial technologies at the Marine Corps' Experimental Forward Operating Base, or ExFOB.
"ExFOB is not a place. It's a group of organizations working together to get the ball rolling for the Marine Corps," said Lt. Col. Tim Parker of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory based in Quantico, Va. "It's an opportunity to show their equipment and decide if these are the systems we want to move forward with."
Participants demonstrated 19 commercial innovations, from air-conditioned tents and personal cooling vests, to instant water-cooling systems and solar-powered generators for Humvees -- all boasting advanced thermal or energy-efficient technologies.
"We know that resource efficiency aids in combat effectiveness and that our investments in reset and modernization will provide a force that operates lighter, faster and at reduced risk," said Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. "Our force will be more energy efficient to support the type of operations expected of us in the future. To do this, we are changing the way we think about and use energy."
Fifty-seven percent of the Marine Corps' power was being used for climate control, said Parker, citing recent statistics from operating forces. He said if the Corps can reduce its power consumption in combat patrols and shelters by using these new technologies, the need for batteries, generators and fuel will decrease.
Marines, sailors, general officers and distinguished guests used the products and gave feedback. With help from surveys, laboratory officials hope to identify and evaluate the technologies to strategically rebalance the Marine Corps' energy consumption.
"A lot of these materials could potentially save lives," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Larry Deyott, the laboratory's senior enlisted advisor. "As Marines, we learn to adapt to the heat, but there are still instances of heat casualties. These new resources can provide a comfortable place to return to after being out in a dusty, hot environment all day, which in turn will allow for a quicker recovery time for the Marines."
Once an annual demonstration, ExFOB now happens twice a year, given its success and innovation, said Parker. He added that the products and events are not just for the current fight but for the future fight as well.