Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Face of Defense: Master Driver Steers Sustainment Brigade's Mission

By Army Spc. Elizabeth White, 3rd Sustainment Brigade

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Nov. 21, 2017 — Five days on an Oshkosh Defense mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle, five days on the MaxxPro II MRAP, and two days on mine rollers: this is what it takes to qualify a master driver to the operator level.

With this qualification, Army Staff Sgt. Arturo Amaro, the master driver for the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, will become the lone soldier able to train drivers in his brigade.

At the operator level, master drivers are capable of teaching other certified drivers how to use any of the above equipment.

“I’m looking forward to getting to do hands-on training with soldiers,” Amaro said. “Right now it’s a challenge getting resources, such as classrooms and vehicles, but the 3rd [Special Troops Battalion] has been helping out.”

His classes could consist of up to 16 soldiers learning to operate any of the three vehicle platforms. Aside from driver training here, Amaro will also be responsible for inspecting other training courses around Combined Joint Operations Area Afghanistan.

Master Driver Classes

The master driver class was led by two 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.

They also taught classes on the characteristics of each vehicle and safety procedures. The drivers then took the MAT-V and the MaxxPro II through the off-road course, which consists of rough, rocky patches, low ruts, high hills and a deep-water obstacle. These obstacles allow the future trainers to experience 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.”

Navy Deploys Unmanned Submersibles in Argentine Submarine Search

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla., Nov. 21, 2017 — The Navy has deployed unmanned underwater vehicles to join in the search for the Argentine navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan, which is missing in South Atlantic waters.

The equipment consists of one Bluefin-12D (Deep) UUV and three Iver 580 UUVs, which are operated by the Navy's recently established Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The UUVs are uniquely capable to help in the search. Both types are capable of deploying quickly and searching wide areas of the ocean using side scan sonar, a system that is used to efficiently create an image of large areas of the sea floor. The Bluefin-12D is capable of conducting search operations at 3 knots [3.5 mph] at a maximum depth of almost 5,000 feet for 30 hours, while the Iver 580s can operate at a depth of 325 feet, traveling at 2.5 knots [2.8 mph] for up to 14 hours.

The U.S. is providing rapid response capabilities, including aircraft, equipment and personnel to assist Argentina in its search for the missing submarine.

In addition to the UUVs, the U.S. has deployed aircraft to assist in the search, as well as underwater equipment specifically designed for submarine search and rescue.

One Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft is already in Argentina, where it joined a NASA P-3 research aircraft supporting the ongoing search efforts over the submarine's last known location.

U.S. Southern Command directed the deployment of this equipment and personnel to Argentina to support the country's request for international assistance aimed at locating the missing submarine and crew.
Southcom is one of the nation's six geographically-focused unified commands, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.