187th instructors reach for top level
May 24, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson is close to adding three more master level instructors to its ranks at the 187th Ordnance Battalion's Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic School.
Debra Wood, Jose Pagan and Ronnie Drakeford are candidates for master level certification, the highest level of instructor training they can receive.
"When the Soldiers come out of basic training we teach them apprentice-level skills for wheeled vehicle maintenance," Wood said. "When you reach the master level, you should be able to teach any lesson plan in any module throughout the schoolhouse. A master instructor is what every instructor aspires to be."
Pagan said the opportunity to become master level instructors is the culmination of many unrelated career factors.
"It's not something that happens in six months," he said. "It happens over years of conducting training of Soldiers, of upgrading equipment and technology, and writing and developing lesson plans."
"The main reason we're doing this is because of all the new equipment we're receiving," Drakeford said. "We need to keep up."
To qualify, instructors must have taught at least 1,250 platform hours, be 100 percent certified in the modules they are currently teaching and mentor individuals as they go through their instructor development levels, Wood said.
About 3,500 students pass through the Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic School each year at Fort Jackson, where they learn to maintain Humvees, MATVs, MRAPs and just about every other vehicle that passes through the post on official business.
"If it rolls, we fix it," Wood said.
"When they leave here, we want them to go out and assist a seasoned maintainer," Drakeford said.
"The course is geared to teach them how to read technical manuals," Pagan said, "as well as the proper use of tools and equipment."
Wood said there are 12 master level instructors at the 187th.
"We get kids that went to school to be in the medical field, we get journalists, we get English majors, we get history majors," Wood said. "It's about how they score on the aptitude of the admittance test. A lot of them choose it because it's something they're interested in back home."