By Sgt. Catherine Graham, 890th Eng. Bn., 225th Eng. Bde.February 25, 2009
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Combat mechanics and support troops from the 890th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, took the opportunity Feb. 5 to take part in a new vehicle recovery course given at the 890th Eng. Bn. motor pool here.
The course has been designed to improve vehicle recovery operations within the battalion as well as for the unit which will replace the 890th Engineers in the next few weeks.
Throughout the course, Soldiers experienced realistic scenarios created to hone their skills as they drive outside the wire to recover disabled or damaged vehicles.
The mechanics used cranes on 'mock-up' vehicles to represent types of equipment they may encounter during actual recovery operations. They also used the course to test their driving skills.
Three classes were held during the trial phase of the four-day block of instruction, where the Soldiers served as troubleshooters for the course curriculum by completing a questionnaire and offered suggestions to modify the course.
The first two classes were offered to Soldiers experienced in the recovery and maintenance sections.
"The class was a little basic for me because I work in the recovery section, but I am happy to help troubleshoot the class for other Soldiers. My suggestion was to focus less on preventive maintenance checks and services and more on hand signals," said Spc. Scott Monroe, a native of Gulfport, Miss., who attended the first class.
"Improving drivers' training was my suggestion for the course," said Sgt. Timothy Hines, a native of Dublin, Texas, a mechanic with the 836th Sapper Company.
Hines helped critique the second class, which he said included invaluable training for vehicle operators as they recover vehicles.
"I felt that accurate information from the equipment operator is a vital to the success of a recovery mission," Hines added. "Drivers' training will help the Soldier understand the importance of conveying correct information in relation to recovery."
The third class was opened to Soldiers in the distribution platoon who were not experienced in the recovery process.
"I wanted to take the class to get a better understanding of the M916 (tractor trailer) truck. The class taught me how to back up the truck and trailer through a serpentine course and other difficult terrains," said Spc. Montoya Brown, a native of Gulfport, Miss. and a unit supply specialist with the 890th Eng. Bn. Forward Support Company. "The class material was extensive and the hands-on experience was great. Using the battle damaged equipment was difficult but it gave us a worst case scenario experience."
"I learned a whole lot. I could find no fault in the course. I am glad I had the opportunity to attend the class and I think a lot of Soldiers will benefit from the training," added Brown.
The course marked the first time the 890th's troops have trained at the recently constructed recovery operations training area of their motor pool.