597th Maintenance provides Soldiers Army-wide 'in-depth' training
April 29, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Being proficient in equipment use and repair is common-place for Soldiers in the 597th Maintenance Company, but now the unit is trying to spread that knowledge around.
About four weeks ago, the first 94 Delta Certification Training program began here with a group of 10 noncommissioned officers from various installations around the world. The program is designed to help them gain knowledge that will make them even better at operating mobile radar equipment while in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, according to 1st Sgt. Charles Bodner, 597th Maint. Co. and 94 Delta Certification Training program creator and coordinator.
"What we're trying to do is help our fellow 94 Delta Maintenance technicians get certified on all the Air Traffic Control tactical equipment they'll be responsible for," he said.
The six-week program consists of giving the technicians a training program on each piece of equipment followed by a certification exam, which consists of a theory exam and a hands-on performance exam. Once both tests are passed by the Soldiers, the Air Traffic Services Command commander signs off on their certification, Bodner said.
"This is important because it shows the proficiency of the technician on that equipment," he said. "We have to be in compliance with (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations and Army doctrine at the same time. The certification program is primarily designed to aid us on the FAA side."
Bodner said the first group of Soldiers to go through the certification program learned quickly and effectively. Another goal of the program is to train those who can then take the knowledge to their units and pass it on to others.
"We receive a lot of specialized training in this organization," he said. "It can be hard to filter the information down to the other units when a lot of the (94 Delta Maintenance technicians) are consolidated here. This is helping to change that."
Spc. Joshua Garrett, F Company, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C., said the training has given him a deeper insight into how the equipment works and will be a big help when his unit deploys later in the year.
"Here, we ran into some issues that I had seen downrange before, but didn't have a lot of experience with," he said. "Now I'm able to get in there and know so much more about how to confront these issues when they happen."
The training these maintenance technicians received here is also being taken to an international level, thanks to the presence of Sgt. Pamela Kay, 458th Airfield Operation Battalion, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Korea.
"Some of the equipment I hadn't seen in a few years, so this was a much-needed, in-depth session," she said. "I hope to pass along all my knowledge to those Soldiers we get from (Advance Individual Training). There are some pieces of equipment we have in Korea that are unique to that country, so teaching them those and more in-depth training on equipment they learned in AIT will be very beneficial for all of us."