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.”