BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, –
Five days on two different platforms of mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) all-terrain vehicles, and two days on mine rollers: this is what it takes to qualify a master driver to the operator level.
With this qualification, Staff Sgt. Arturo Amaro, the master driver for the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, can operate as the lone Soldier capable to train drivers for the RSSB.
At the operator level, master drivers are now capable of teaching other certified drivers how to utilize any of the above equipment. After he completes this course, Amaro will be able to train Soldiers in the Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan who require a class.
“I’m looking forward to getting to do hands-on training with Soldiers,” said Amaro. “Right now it’s a challenge getting resources, such as classrooms and vehicles, but the 3rd STB has been helping out.”
His class loads could consist of up to 16 Soldiers who he would have to train in any of the three vehicle platforms. Aside from drivers training on Bagram Airfield, Amaro will also be responsible for inspecting other drivers training courses around the CJOA-A.
The master driver class that day consisted of a group from the 82nd Airborne Division, and Amaro as the 3rd Inf. Div. representative. The class was led by two Department of the Army civilians who travel to many different forward operating bases to administer this course.
“We teach master drivers and coalition forces preventive maintenance checks, on-road and off-road driving and night driving,” said Barry Gravely, one of the MRAP instructors for the course. “We don’t cut corners in training so that our drivers will be able to continue with the fight.”
They also went through classes on characteristics of the vehicles and safety procedures. The drivers took the two MRAPs through the off-road course, which consisted of rough, rocky patches, low ruts, high hills and a deep water obstacle. These obstacles would show the drivers the capabilities of the vehicles as well as prepare them for any driving they may have to do outside of their base.
“It was a good experience driving the off-road portion,” Amaro said. “When we familiarize with this terrain it helps us with the terrain off post.”