Grafenwoehr, Germany (July 5, 2017) -- "If you are in a master driver trainer position, you are serving a role that is vital to the safety of the Soldiers who are within your sphere of influence," said Sgt. First Class Cristin Mckenzie, an Army Master Driver Trainer Instructor/Writer at the US Army Transportation School in Fort Lee, Virginia.

The 7th Army Training Command's Combined Arms Training Center (CATC) hosted the first Master Driver Trainer Qualification (MDTQ) course held in Europe from June 12-29, 2017.

The 3-week long course, also known as the Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) M9 course, is a MOS-specific course that is designed to teach motor transport operators, (88Ms), to train unit master drivers to manage a brigade or battalion's driver's training program in accordance with the Army's safety program.

"This training is important because we take subject matter experts from the battalions or brigades to train them on all aspects of the driver's training program," said Mckenzie. "We have to get back to emplacing subject matter experts to deliver proper training."

The overall purpose of the course is to reduce the amount of dangers on the road due to lack of experienced or improperly trained drivers, potentially saving lives and enhancing mission readiness.

A student in the MDTQ course, Sgt. First Class Alfonso Martinez, briefly described an experience he encountered when he stopped a Soldier who was talking on her phone while driving a water tank vehicle. Her response to Alfonso was that she didn't know the regulation.

It's important to raise awareness of this problem, especially when the results could be life or death. It starts with educating the command leadership, which is what the recent graduates from the MDTQ course are qualified and eager to do.

The MDTQ course started in late 2013, so prior to that time, personnel would have to go through training given by the installation, said Sgt. First Class Keith Tillman, a Master Driver Trainer Instructor/Writer from the US Army Transportation School. The MDTQ course has completely enhanced or outgrown the installation course.

The installation course offered here is conducted by CATC, which they offer a Unit Master Driver Trainer (UMDT) course online.

The course is designed to teach non-88M personnel to manage a battalion driver's training program, explained Sgt. First Class Robert K. Bandy, a course manager at CATC. Completing the UMDT course would certify personnel as unit master drivers.

The UMDT course is convenient for units who may not have an 88M Soldier to send to the MDTQ, but still needs a master driver. This duty will become an additional duty for those non-88M personnel due to the fact it is not within their MOS-related tasks.

In contrast, the MDTQ course would require certified master driver trainers to provide constant super-vision as the position requires a motor transport operator to conduct the duty full-time, explained Tillman.

"It brings things back to doing things the right way, and in a safe and efficient manner," said Mckenzie.