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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: February 28, 2005
No: 05-09

Greening goes ‘basic’

NATICK, Mass. -- Gaining field experience with Soldiers under the Greening Program took a new twist when five Soldier Systems Center employees participated in a week of basic combat training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Typically coordinated with units conducting field training exercises, Sgt. 1st Class Sam Newland, Natick Soldier Center’s senior enlisted advisor and Greening noncommissioned officer in charge, was invited by the 14th Military Police Training Brigade to lead a Greening class for the first time with a company of recruits.

The employees soldiered through Week Seven, using all of the their issued individual combat equipment as they lived among the Soldiers, eating the rations, digging fighting positions, reacting to a simulated chemical attack and carrying a dummy M-16 rifle.

The group broke away periodically from the controlled schedule to review what they’ve learned, and at the end of their four days conducted a 3-mile road march led by Newland.

“They did extremely well. It was kind of shock therapy at first,” he said. “I put them right into a basic training platoon. They were gainfully employed throughout the (field training exercise), but I occasionally pulled them away from the recruits to give them a chance to digest what they had observed and learned.”

Pfc. Trung Nguyen, a human research volunteer who has since moved on to become a Ranger, assisted Newland “to bring fresh experience with me,” he said.

The Natick Soldier Center (NSRDEC) Greening Program is designed to give scientists and engineers with no military experience a better understanding of the military culture so that they can apply that knowledge on the job, according to Newland.

“It’s all experiential learning as opposed to classroom learning,” he said.

Kevin Connolly, a mechanical engineer on the Aerial Delivery Engineering Support Team, said he decided to attend because he thought it would be a good experience, and he wanted to see what Soldiers go through physically.

“I was a little nervous. It was a little intense, but I’m in decent shape, so it was O.K.,” Connolly said.

To help ease their transition into the basic training class, Sgt. 1st Class John Langton, a senior drill sergeant with Company C, 1st Battalion, 304th Infantry, a Reserve unit in Londonderry, N.H., was invited to the Soldier Systems Center for a one-day course with the Greening participants on becoming a Soldier.

They became acquainted with drill and ceremony, map reading and other skills to help give them a good idea of what to expect, said Dan Harshman, an equipment specialist with NSRDEC’s Operational Forces Interface Group (OFIG) and reservist in Langton’s unit.

“I appreciate what (Soldiers) do even more,” said Marc Tardiff, a mechanical engineer on the Aerial Delivery Engineering Support Team. “Since I deal with them so often, I have new insight into their thought process. It makes me a more efficient employee.”

The other employees who participated are David Colanto, mechanical engineer, Ballistics Technology Team; Chenxi Dong, chemical engineer on the Chemical Technology Team and Christine DiSanto, a textile technologist on the Aerial Delivery Engineering Support Team.

For more information about the Soldier Systems Center, please visit our website at:

This page last updated on 23 January 2004.