FORT HOOD, Texas — Distinguished Central Texas associates have been invited to “Partnership Day” Thursday to help the U.S. Army Operational Test Command celebrate 50 years in the business of testing Army equipment.

Media are invited to attend while civic leaders, college chancellors, and the like, mingle with Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who are testing an under armor auxiliary power unit upgrade to the M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank.

Guests will be paired with OTC leadership and testers to build relationships in the local community, while cultivating a human network of mutual support for OTC’s test mission.

Dubbed Abrams M1A2 System Enhancement Package V3, tank crews are performing their wartime missions under realistic combat conditions to tell OTC testers how the latest upgrades increase the tank’s survivability, lethality, and readiness of Armored Brigade Combat Teams throughout the Army.

Testing the Abrams Main Battle Tank is one more step in the Army’s continual modernization of equipment, using what Soldiers learn during combat, and translating it into improved battlefield capabilities through operational testing.

Working with OTC test officers, Soldier tank crews are providing the human element necessary for training hard under realistic operational scenarios against threats they may face in the real world.

Soldiers and test units have the ability to impact development of systems through rigorous training while executing doctrinally-realistic missions, and then providing direct input to the combat and materiel developers of the system.

Media representatives interested in covering the event should contact Michael Novogradac, OTC’s public affairs officer, at 254-288-9110, or email: [email protected]l to be escorted to the testing event. Please do so by 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 8.

A public affairs escort will meet the media at the North side of the Clarke Road gate at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, May 9.

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About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:

Operational testing began Oct. 1, 1969, and as the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC is celebrating “50 Years of Operational Testing.” The unit enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer - the American Soldier.

OTC’s mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers offer their feedback, which influences the future by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems that Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight with.