By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderDecember 19, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Are you prepared for Victory Block Leave? The U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School took no chances last week, inspecting dozens of vehicles belonging to Soldiers before they were allowed to leave post for the holidays.
"This is our preemptive 'privately owned vehicle' strike," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Endres, a drill sergeant leader at the school. "We want to make sure that Soldiers who are leaving will have a vehicle that is serviceable and safe to drive for the holidays. It's all about safety."
Soldiers take part in routine vehicle inspections throughout the year, he said, but a special event was organized last Friday at the school to make sure drivers were prepared for extended holiday leave. Nine stations were established in the school's parking lot, with drill sergeant leaders looking for a variety of potential problems. Paperwork led off Friday's inspection, with driver's licenses, insurance and registration reviewed at the first station.
"At Station Two, we're checking to make sure tire pressure is correct, especially on motorcycles," Endres said. "At Station Three, we'll check their horn to make sure they have a signalling device in case there's an accident or emergency."
Subsequent stations inspect lights, turn signals, windshield wipers and windows. Seat belts are also inspected.
"We'll also check under the hood, check the oil and transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant reservoir," he said. "Then they'll come to the final checkout station and we'll collect their POV inspection sheet and make sure they're good to go."
Many of the potential problems could be corrected onsite, he said.
"If the battery needs a charge, we have a charger," Endres said. "If they're low on tire pressure, we have an air compressor to put air into the tires. We have some other tools if something minor needs to be repaired."
More serious problems would result in a temporary halt of the inspection until the issues are corrected, he said.
"(The Soldiers') supervisor would then take over and suspend the inspection so they can get the problem corrected, as long as it's not a moving safety violation that would prevent them from driving the vehicle," he said.