FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 11, 2018) -- An Army Logistics University instructor has turned a casual classroom observation into an app he hopes will make vehicle recovery operations more efficient.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Truman Ward, a recovery specialist assigned to the Technical Learning College, is a principal figure behind the Direct Recovery Operations app that makes it a snap to recover disabled vehicles.

“I would describe it as a one-stop way of accessing instant mathematical equations to recover military vehicles within seconds rather than hours,” said the 24-year Soldier.

DRO was developed for ordnance personnel but is accessible to all Soldiers as well as other military personnel via Google Play or the Apple Store. The idea came about as Ward listened to an instructional presentation, noting how little technology was used in the recovery process.

“I’m watching the instructor teach and he said, ‘In order to correctly recover a vehicle, you have to know the weight of the vehicle,’” he recalled, referring to the presentation in December 2016. “‘You can find that weight either on the data plate, in a manual or you can Google it.’

“I said to myself ‘we’re about to go into 2017 and we have an app for PT, we have an app for body fat calculations, but we don’t have an app to tell us how much a vehicle weighs?’ That same day, I started working on the app, and a year, later, on that same day – Dec. 15 – the app was released.”

The DRO is designed principally as a data bank accessory for those charged with vehicle recovery – mostly wheeled vehicle mechanics – providing virtually all the information needed to remove everything from disabled Humvees to M1 tanks, according to officials at CASCOM G3’s Training Technology Division, the product’s developer.

“The application stores information, including gross weights, on more than 200 Army and Marine fleet vehicles,” said David Garrison, division chief.

Recovery capability is largely determined by vehicle weight and other conditional factors such as resistance, weather and whether the vehicle is mired, submerged in water or flipped, said Ward.

In addition to offering vehicle specifications, the app can make calculations based on specific conditions, said Garrison.

“Custom options allow the user to input varying vehicle weights depending on unique configurations or add-ons (e.g. up-armored and coalition vehicles),” he said. “Select a towing wrecker and the vehicle to be recovered, and the app will calculate the five types of resistance for recovery operations. At its core, the DRO application provides real-time pinpoint calculations for all aspects of recovery and relatable materials during scenarios encompassing the entire Army fleet of vehicles.”

Ward, a former recovery operations enlisted Soldier, said the app’s value lies in its ability to make quick work of most recovery situations by providing needed information, and its particularly useful under field conditions.

“This app is important because it can cut the recovery process from hours to minutes, especially concerning the calculations,” he said. “That’s minutes the enemy does not have to take lives while Soldiers are trying to recover vehicles off the battlefield.”

In addition to its vehicle specification library, the DRO app provides reference resources at the point of need to include Army Training Publications, Army Regulations, and the Digital GTA Riggers Card,” said Garrison.

Prior to its release, the DRO app was formally vetted through three separate test classes within the Ordnance School’s 91H8 Recovery Training Department and the CASCOM Safety Office.

Ward thanked CW4 David Cheshier, CW5 Cindy Frazier, Tim Crowther, Chief of Ordnance Brig. Gen. David Wilson and ALU Commandant Thomas Rogers, as well as warrant officer basic course students for their support and contributions.

For more information about the app or to suggest improvements, contact Ward at truman.v.ward.mil@mail.mil.