Local state legislators this week will showcase the research done at Natick Soldier Systems Center, the facility that studies many of the things that soldiers rely on in their daily activities such as food, clothing, and medicine.
The event will take place at the State House Wednesday.
For nearly 60 years, the U.S. Army has conducted some of its most advanced research on soldier equipment at the Natick center, according to a statement released by state Senator Karen Spilka's office.
People coming to Wednesday's event will be able talk one-on-one with subject matter experts, and see some of the gear and equipment developed at the Natick center. Representatives will be on hand to answer any questions and showcase their innovative work to develop America’s future soldiers and provide them with technologically advanced equipment.
Visitors can see and experience the equipment developed at the state-of-the-art research facility through hands-on demonstrations and displays showcasing past, present, and future war-fighter equipment, most of which originates from, or was developed in, the Commonwealth.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited the center, touting it as "valuable" with "enduring" research, and defended its right to stay open amid possible base closings.
“The work that is done here and the people here are essential for our soldiers, to keep them safe and comfortable,” McHugh said. “I can’t imagine that ever going away. I would say this location has value.”
McHugh said he noted research on nutrition during his visit, admiring the work on making soldiers’ food not only healthy but flavorful.
“You don’t think about the work and research and analysis that goes into making sure we’re providing something the soldier wants to eat,” McHugh said. “You can pack all the nutrients you want into a pouch, but if a soldier doesn’t find it very palatable, they are not going eat it.”
McHugh also praised the research being done in Natick to reduce convoys in Afghanistan, a dangerous assignment for soldiers who accompany the supply trucks. One solution: cutting down on demand for the supplies ferried by the trucks.
He said the shower reuse systems being studied in Natick could substitute for 9,000 gallons of water per day per unit, and that high efficiency generators could replace up to 50 million gallons of fuel per year.
“That’s 55 trucks off the road – that’s soldier safety,” McHugh said. “A lot that we’re doing right now to make those savings and reduce those risks started right here.”
Teams from the center and the Program Executive Office-Soldier will present items from the center, including Navy uniforms and equipment, medical research findings, unmanned aerial vehicles, precision airdrop systems, special operations items and career and business opportunities.
PEO-Soldier will also feature some items, including extended cold weather clothing systems, lightweight load-carrying equipment, advanced combat helmets, night vision eyewear, body armor, an army soldier's uniform and a flame resistant outfit.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Grand Staircase, and will continue until 2 p.m.
Speakers at the event include the following:
- Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray
- Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- State Senator Karen Spilka
- State Senator Richard Ross
- State Senator Michael Rush, chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
- State Senator Thomas McGee, vice chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
- State Representative Linda Dean Campbell, vice chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs
- State Representative Michael Brady, vice chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
- Brigadier General John McGuiness, Commanding General, Natick Soldier Systems Center
The speakers will begin at 11 a.m.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org