New Army secretary makes fire, watches robots on first Pacific tour
SCHOFIELD BARRCKS, Hawaii — From robots to rubbing two sticks together for fire, Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning kicked off his first tour of the Pacific on Tuesday with demonstrations of the service’s high-tech and basic jungle know-how.
Fanning, who took over the position in May, visited the 25th Infantry Division’s Lightning Academy jungle training, where he tried his hand at starting a fire with a 9-volt battery and steel wool, hoisting a heavy litter up a hillside and scrambling across a rope line.
He also visited demonstrations of a half-dozen robot prototypes from the Army’s Pacific Manned-Unmanned Initiative, or PACMAN-I.
Several of the robots looked like miniaturized tanks and could be used for gear transportation, surveillance or remote-controlled weapons. Others were small flying drones.