Story by Spc. Daniel Nelson
A group of approximately nine Soldiers stationed in Mosul, Iraq, at both Forward Operating Base Marez and FOB Diamondback, attended a driver's training course on mine resistant armor protected vehicles between April 7 and April 10. Since the start of the war in Iraq back in March 2003, the military has faced many environmental and tactical differences from the previous wars fought by the U.S.
Therefore, the need arose to develop a vehicle that can provide adequate safety to the service members serving in war zones.
Developed to withstand an improvised explosive device, the U.S. has employed the mine resistant ambush protected vehicle. There are different variations of MRAP vehicles, but the concept remains the same for all; to greater the odds of surviving an explosion and engage the enemy with fire superiority.
Every Soldier must attend a driver's training course for any vehicle that they have not operated before. This is to familiarize them with how the vehicle drives and ensure each of them can conduct a thorough preventive maintenance checks and service.
The driver's training course was given in blocks of instruction and taught by knowledgeable civilian instructors who are employed by DynCorp, the company that co-developed the MRAP vehicles.
Operating in unusual conditions, proper vehicle maintenance, use of the driver's vision enhancement, and self-recovery were the areas of focus for the course. The aim was to help prevent possible mechanical issues from occurring during operations outside the wire, and effectively and efficiently use the vehicles winch or tow capabilities, if ever the situation were to arise.
Each Soldier had to drive an MRAP vehicle on a course that forced them to react to different terrain and obstacles while an instructor was guiding them through from the truck commander seat of the vehicle. In addition, the Soldiers drove a night course, which was used to get them comfortable with maneuvering such a large vehicle safely throughout different obstacles.
Upon completion of the course, the Soldiers had received training required to operate both the MaxxPro and MaxxPro Plus series MRAP vehicles. The knowledge and training will better equip them to handle their missions and any unexpected occurrences on the battlefield.