by Airman 1st Class Tryphena Mayhugh
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
8/17/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The
Air Force Civil Engineer Center held a Tractor Trailer Training, or 3T,
program for civil engineer pavements and equipment operators from Aug. 3
through 14 here.
This is the first time the course is being taught in U.S. Air Forces in
Europe and is designed to improve the skills of an Air Force tractor
trailer operator and provide the equivalent training of a civilian
commercial tractor trailer driver.
"Hosting the first class in USAFE is crucial to taking the program to
the next level," said Senior Master Sgt. Eric Johnson, AFCEC pavements
and equipment force development manager. "We are working with the Army's
Soldier for Life in hopes that this same course will be available to
all Department of Defense members in USAFE to enhance the safety of all
DOD tractor trailer operators, as well as ease the transition process
Prior to being taught in USAFE, the training was only offered at Fort
Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. So
any Airmen stationed overseas would have to be flown back to the U.S. to
receive this training.
Both of the operating locations in the U.S. have received accreditation
from the Professional Truck Driver Institute, making the AFCEC the only
uniformed school, and one of 57 civilian schools, in the U.S. to hold
this accreditation. The course being taught in USAFE is currently going
through the accreditation process, which should be completed in the
spring of 2016.
"Before this course, Airmen had a couple days during technical school
where they were taught tractor trailer procedures, and then it was up to
their unit to train them once they got to their first duty station,"
said Master Sgt. Lex Abrams, 622nd Civil Engineer Group Expeditionary
Combat Support Training and Certification Center pavement and equipment
program lead instructor. "There wasn't a set curriculum for training, so
there wasn't a way to be sure that the units were meeting certain
criteria. Now, the course meets the civilian standards and ensures that
everyone coming through it is taught the same level of training."
The program is comprised of 160 hours of training overall. Prior to
taking the course, students are required to complete an in-depth online
training course which covers tractor trailer general knowledge, safety,
the trucking industry and more. Then they participate in 80 hours of
in-residence training at the training location. An average of 58 of the
in-residence hours is used for behind-the-wheel training.
The 3T program is scheduled to be held quarterly with four students per
class and teaches Class A vehicle general knowledge, vehicle
inspections, shifting proficiency, advanced backing maneuvers and
over-the-road operating skills.
It differs from the courses taught in the U.S. in that it includes a
crash course to ensure students know how to follow German road signs and
trains them for both European and U.S. specification tractor trailer
"Having this class available in USAFE is important because it ensures
Airmen are properly trained, they are safe and knowledgeable drivers and
are prepared to drive any type of tractor trailer vehicle they come
upon," said Abrams.
Many Airmen who take the course already have some knowledge of how to
drive a tractor trailer vehicle, but the class offers more in-depth
"When I first started in this course I didn't even know how to attempt
the method of double clutching, and that was a skill I gained by taking
this class," said Senior Airman Jerhl Haymon, 786th Civil Engineer
Squadron heavy equipment operator. "I believe this course is a must
have, especially for first-term Airmen. You gain a lifelong skill."
Upon graduation, an Airman will receive a certificate with the PTDI seal
of training, proving the Airman's level of skill with a tractor
"Since a student will graduate with a certificate of training, a
potential employer knows they were properly trained, and it makes the
student more marketable," said Abrams. "In our career field, we receive a
lot of training that isn't easily transferred to the civilian sector
because companies are always looking for a certificate. We are setting
up these Airmen for success once they decide to transition out of the
Through the AFCEC 3T program, Airmen can gain the knowledge and skills
needed to improve their career, whether it's in the Air Force or as a