By 1st Lt. Jeffery Chemasko, 1st Sustainment BrigadeNovember 3, 2008
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Mechanics from the 377th Heavy Equipment Transportation Company, 165th CSSB, 1st Sustainment Brigade, work around the clock to keep the company's fleet of Heavy Equipment Transport systems well maintained. Yet due to a recent increase in the need for vehicle drivers, some of these mechanics have been asked to step up to fill the slots.
Operating this enormous transport system is no easy task. The vehicle is designed to haul heavy equipment of all types, including the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Before these eager drivers could jump behind the wheel, they had to go through an intense and thorough driver's training program headed by Staff Sgt. Deleston, the unit master driver.
To turn the mechanics into capable operators, Deleston methodically led them through each phase of training. The training began with a familiarization of the bobtail tractor itself, and then combined the tracker and trailer together as complete system.
They then honed their driving skills through serpentines in the motor pool before testing their abilities on roads within the Camp Taji walls - under the supervision of experienced drivers of course.
"These Soldiers were highly motivated and stayed focused throughout the training," said Deleston a Lane, S.C., native. "They are now capable of going on missions and handling the [HET] system properly."
"Driving [the HET] was fun. I loved having this opportunity; it was a great experience," said McAllen, Texas, native, Pvt. 1st Class first Nancy Lopez.