By Nick DukeAugust 21, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 21, 2013) -- At Fort Benning and across the rest of the Army, the next generation of driving instructors is trained and certified through the Master Driver Course.
"The Master Driver course is a very important course that is vital to the military's mission," said Bernard Carter, an assistant instructor for the Directorate of Training Sustainment. "We are like the eyes and ears of the commanders. We ensure that the master drivers are trained properly in order for them to train other drivers to perform and operate equipment legally."
However, unlike many other courses at Fort Benning, the primary instructor for the course is more than 2,000 miles away.
The Master Driver Course is conducted with the use of video teletraining, where a primary instructor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., teaches classes at other installations through the use of video teleconferencing.
For last week's class, four installations took part -- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Benning, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Each installation has a local assistant instructor on site.
"We make sure that the students understand the instruction that is being given out, provide the testing and make sure that they are competent once they leave here with their certificate," Carter said. "I'm prepared if the video does go down so I can pick up and continue the program so the students won't miss anything."
Carter said one of the biggest challenges in the course is keeping students engaged during teletraining.
"We try to keep the students excited as much as possible," he said. "Anytime you have an electronic program, the students can get bored at times. That's where I come in and try to liven them up and also make sure they understand the instruction. It has been noted that the students would love to have more hands-on training, and we're looking at that."
The course covers all publications and regulations concerning the operation of motor vehicles.
"We also try to lead them in the right way of trying to establish a drivers' training program, set up standard operating procedures for the unit and prepare for the staff inspection that the post conducts as well," Carter said.
The course is typically held every quarter, though instructors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord set the schedule.