By Fort Sill Tribune staffMay 24, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla. (May 24, 2018) -- Four Soldiers graduated in the first 16-week Warren CAT Diesel Industrial Engine Career Skills Program offered through the Fort Sill Soldier for Life Transition Complex here. When they received their graduation certificates May 18, they also received employment offers guaranteed upon completion of their training.
Graduate Master Sgt. Robert Craft, of Fort Riley, Kan., also an acting first sergeant, received four-months of permissive orders to attend the training here.
"I feel very confident, and I'm ready to begin my next career with Warren CAT, an awesome company," said Craft, who retires from the Army Aug. 31, with 28 years of service. He said he'll use terminal leave and expects to join Warren CAT during June.
Craft said he learned about the Warren CAT program at the Fort Riley SFL, while he was exploring the Ryder diesel mechanic training program, which was in line with his MOS 91D, or tactical power generation specialist.
"One of the things Warren CAT offers is a guaranteed job, which is right in terms of what I was looking for," said Craft, who like his fellow classmates will be working in Oklahoma City. "My wife is from Oklahoma, and I was stationed at Fort Sill for nine years."
Mike Murphy, Warren CAT technician recruiter, said the first class was a diverse group, which included: different military occupational specialties; varying levels of mechanical experience; an E-8, an E-5 and a one-term E-4; all who came from three posts.
"We're very proud of each of you," Murphy said, during the graduation. "This is just the beginning of where we'd like to see you over the course of the next couple years."
One of the six Warren CAT administrators present at the ceremony noted virtually all of them began their careers as technicians with the company, and are also military veterans.
During the ceremony, Thomas Miller, Fort Sill SFL Transition Complex service specialist, thanked the Warren CAT officials, and said the graduation was the great start to a strong partnership.
Miller described the Warren CAT training as the SFL's flagship program because it guarantees employment, and provides free training and transportation. Warren CAT also has a direct-hire program for veterans on a case-by-case basis.
Graduate Spc. Tianna Harris, a Multiple, Launch, Rocket System specialist, with 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery here, said she did not have a mechanical background, but that didn't hinder her from applying to the program.
"I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn something new, and to become a mechanic," she said.
She said the training went well.
"My mentors, the supervisors, the co-workers worked with me, instead of getting on to me," she said. "They took their time to show me step-by-step."
Harris will begin her terminal leave May 31, and separate from the Army July 13.
During the training, Soldiers were bussed daily from Fort Sill to the Warren CAT training facility in OKC. The first two weeks were classroom and covered shop safety, and an introduction to one of the industrial engines, said Juston Goddard, Warren CAT OKC shop manager. "After that we put them with technicians and started training them on the engines that we build, so it's on-the-job training."
Tim Stear, Warren CAT technical training manager, said the industrial engine training was customized for the military.
The students learned on an 3500 industrial engine about its systems and processes as well as a total engine rebuild, Stear said. "They learned about the oil system, the cooling system, air system, fuel system, and a breakdown of how the systems work."
Jane Cunningham, Fort Sill SFL Transition Services manager, said the first training went awesome. She noted that the second Warren CAT class had already begun May 7, and it, too, has four Soldiers.
"We are getting interest, but like any new program it takes time to market through our regional posts," she said. "We are trying to reach other Soldiers who are leaving the Army, but are interested in coming to Oklahoma, for a career."
Lloyd Compton, SFL marketing specialist, said all training programs offered through the SFL prepare Soldiers to earn a living wage. When a young Soldier leaves the Army, he or she gives up housing and food allowances, and will start having to pay for health care.
"That's a lot of money they have to make up for, so those $12 an hour jobs will not pay the bills unless the spouse gets a job, too," Compton said.
Other programs offered through the SFL include, professional truck driving, semi-truck diesel engine repair, and robotics.