H8 Training comes to Stewart for first time
March 15, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Eighteen sustainment Soldiers from across the Division got their boots wet last week trekking through waist high water and mud while practicing their newly learned skills on how to operate a wheeled wrecker vehicle.
A Mobile Training Team assigned to Company D, 16th Ordnance Battalion, 59th Ordnance Brigade, Fort Lee, Va., visited Fort Stewart during the month of March to certify Soldiers on Recovery Operations and to receive the Additional Skill Identifier H8. This is the first time the MTT came to Fort Stewart; normally they go overseas and train the deployed Soldiers.
"This training was crucial to get for our Soldiers because the Modified Table of Organization and Equipment changed in October 2011, making it mandatory for Soldiers to be H8 qualified," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Charles Havner, the Senior Armament Tech for 3rd Sustainment Brigade's System Program Office, Third Infantry Division, who was responsible for bringing the training to Fort Stewart. "It varies by Brigade, but we've been waiting more than three months to get some of our Soldiers H8 Qualified."
"We teach them the basics of an M1089 5-Ton and an M948 Hemet," added Staff Sgt. Devon Ruediger, the lead instructor. "They need the knowledge of the vehicle to prepare them to go down range and do their job well."
The team certified two classes consisting of 18 Soldiers who are either Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics or Machinists.
The class involved classroom and hands-on situations, with both a written and situational exam.
There were even two days where the Soldiers got 'down and dirty,' pulling wreckers out of the mud and turning over vehicles. They got the M948 Hemet stuck and used a smaller M1089 5-Ton to pull it out.
"Anyone can hop in a wrecker and drive it," said Staff Sgt. Ruediger. "There's a difference between knowing and operating the vehicle or driving it. Our goal is to get each operator to trust the vehicle. If they know and trust it, the vehicle will perform in the manner that it needs to for any mission."
There were four main instructors brought from Fort Lee, but the 3rd Sustainment Brigade supplied assistant instructors to monitor the safety aspect of the class.
"Safety is a big part of this because a lot of things with safety can go wrong," said Spc. Steven Hunter, an assistant instructor from 24th Ordnance Company, 87th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Third Infantry Division. "If you are not on top of things, you or others could get hurt; recovery safety is a big deal."
Though it is physically demanding, each Soldier also had to be able to do mathematical equations to figure out the formula for the devices they need to recover a vehicle.
"One of my favorite parts of this class was being able to work with other units and learn from them," said Spc. Ansumana Foday-Kakpa from 135th Quartermaster Company, 87th CSSB, 3rd Sustainment Bde. "It's great that they were able to send a mobile unit team to us because it put us in our environment to learn, and we all worked well together."
Bringing the training to Fort Stewart not only saved money for the units, but allowed more Soldiers to become better skilled in their professions. The instructors said they enjoy showing the Soldiers how to properly operate the wrecker vehicle.
"I wouldn't trade teaching the Soldiers for anything," said Staff. Sgt. Ruediger. "There is more to maintenance than just services, recovery is a whole new chapter, and I feel privileged to get to share my knowledge."