By Sgt. 1st Class Rosario Urquieta, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West Public Affairs April 2, 2014
CAMP PARKS, Calif. -- Skills are often lost when not used on a daily basis. For this reason the 1st Regiment 363rd Combat Support/Combat Service Support Training Battalion focuses its training on HMMWV's with drivers training and troop leading procedures.
The Maintenance NCOIC of the unit, Sgt. 1st Class Genaro Garcia, is responsible for vehicle maintenance at battalion level and is the subject matter expert for the drivers training program. Garcia emphasizes the importance of training to standard with vehicles used in the field.
"You got to get to know your equipment before you operate your equipment," said Garcia. "Knowing how the vehicles operate, Soldiers are capable of preventing major issues from occurring."
Garcia said Soldiers who know their vehicles have more confidence when maneuvering various vehicles. Garcia said lots of safety hazards happen due to negligence.
"The training manuals continuously show warning signs demonstrating the importance of safety when handling military vehicles," Garcia said. "The more we enforce it and practice safety, the safer Soldiers (are)."
A new soldier to the unit, Sgt. George Payopay, said the class was great.
"Based on the training I have taken, this drivers training class is one of the best," he said. "Being able to communicate and relate with the student is important cause I have gone through other classes and the information goes away right away, but by Sgt. Garcia basing the information on personal experiences, I was able to take the information and keep it based on what I have experienced."
2nd Lt. Joshua Cantu is new to the Army. He is also in a leadership role that keeps him close to troops. Cantu has never experienced a class such as drivers training, so this was a whole new opportunity to learn.
"The only way to learn is to go out there and get the hands on perspective," he said. "I feel like I actually built a lot of confidence -- the fact that there was rain, that itself made the training more relevant."
One aspect of the training was getting used to the night vision goggles. Staff Sgt. Kassandra Boswell had previous experience with military drivers training but was able to learn and do something new.
"Putting on the NVGs was really awesome," she said. "It was completely different from how I thought it was going to be. I was able to see a lot more than what I thought I was going to be able to see."
During Boswell's 10 years of service, drivers training actually stuck with her this time. "I think in this unit they really care about their Soldiers and drivers training shows how much they care about the development of their Soldiers."