By T. Anthony BellMay 1, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (A major training exercise of the Transportation School's 88N military occupational specialty course is scheduled to relocate to Fort Lee from Fort A.P. Hill in the coming weeks.
The anticipated benefits of the move include a more robust training experience for students and greater flexibility to adjust and control the flow of each exercise.
The next end-of-course field event for transportation management coordinator students is scheduled for May 20, said Staff Sgt. Edward Sprague, a course instructor/writer. It was formerly a part of the ongoing Sustainment Warrior Field Training Exercises that are conducted at A.P. Hill in conjunction with the Quartermaster and Ordnance schools.
At Fort Lee, two primary sites will be used to fulfill the requirements of the 88N FTX -- the Training Area 10 Mock-up Training Site located just off of C Avenue and Training Area 27 located at the installation's range training complex.
"We're allotted 96 hours out of the six weeks of the course for our FTX," said instructor/writer Staff Sgt. Clifford Kurten. "In bringing it here, we can make more efficient use of those hours and better shape the event to fulfill our critical tasks."
Currently, 300-400 Soldiers from all three schools participate in the SWFTX on a weekly basis. The scenario-driven field exercise affords Soldiers an opportunity to demonstrate technical and tactical skills gained during their courses of study.
The 88Ns were the smallest group of Soldiers participating in the SWFTX. Due to that and other factors, they were constrained to fulfilling only a few of the critical tasks listed in the program of instruction. All of those fell under the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, or what the Army deems necessary for survival on the battlefield. The 88Ns did not perform any MOS-specific tasks during the training.
"So, we go from spending three days at A.P. Hill and meeting three or four critical tasks to having it here for four days and meeting all of our critical tasks," said Kurten. The 88Ns are required to complete 22 critical tasks for course graduation.
On the first day of the new end-of-course exercise, students will perform railhead operations at TA 10; learn convoy operations at the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer simulation facility the next morning; then demonstrate what they learned during an actual convoy operation at TA 27 and adjacent areas. On the third day, students will undergo airfield operations training.
"The fourth day encompasses the redeployment phase," said instructor/writer Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Loy. "We'll do everything in reverse order."
During the course of the exercise, students will learn everything from securing cargo on rail cars to creating cargo pallets for air transport.
"It will be more technical," said Loy, "but they will be actively engaged all four days. We're trying to get them to see the whole concept of a movement -- from deployment to redeployment."
Aside from benefiting the students, the move will also benefit instructors, said Kurten.
"Because we are so small," he said, "we were at the mercy of the other schools. We had to change our schedules around their planning and coordinate through them for transportation. Now we have complete control of the planning."
When the training starts at Fort Lee, it will technically be called a pilot program, which means it will undergo a trial period.
"As we go through the pilot program, if we see things that we don't like, we have the control to change it," said Kurten. "We don't have to go through another school in order to change the training."
The 88N MOS training was relocated to Fort Lee from Fort Eustis two years ago when the Transportation Corps staked its flag here as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure program. It trains roughly 350 Soldiers yearly.
SWFTX is an outgrowth of the old QM School-run Log Warrior exercise that took place where the Ordnance Campus is located. The training was moved to Fort A.P. Hill three years ago when a BRAC provision relocated the Ordnance School here from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
Both the QM and Ord. Schools are also scheduled to begin relocating their end-of-course field training to Fort Lee. The relocation plan is expected to be fully implemented sometime in fiscal 2014.