Fort Buchanan, PR- U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 1st Mission Support Command conducted a Train the Trainer course on Oct. 16-18, 2018 at the installation's training facility.
With an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Train the Trainer course allows the Soldiers to operate the RT240 Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH), All Terrain Lifter Army System Rough Terrain Forklift (ATLAS) in a controlled environment, where every scenario imaginable can be implemented without risk of injury or damage.
Unlike the actual vehicles, there is no required maintenance that could possibly deadline the vehicle preventing Soldiers from conducting training.
"Honestly these ones [RTCH/ATLAS] they're excellent. Real equipment needs monthly, yearly, annual service so sometimes we go to the Motor Pool and the equipment is undergoing some maintenance, so we don't have nothing to do with hands on training," said Staff Sgt. Moises Colon, of the 346th Transportation Battalion- U.S. Army Reserve Puerto Rico, in Ceiba, PR. "At least, if we have that situation we now will have the simulators."
With the simulator, the Soldiers are able to maneuver through multiple training areas such as sand, grass, mud, and asphalt terrains. There are even pier areas with floating causeway, warehouse and pallet/container yard staging area, truck loading/unloading, open terrain hills and trees, ammunition dump area, and aerial port of debarkation.
In addition to the terrain, the weather elements are controllable as well, such as; rain, hail, snow, sandstorms, and wind storms to name a few.
In the U.S. Army, readiness is a key factor for success.
"I believe the readiness, talking about hands on training, of the Soldiers will really improve. In my personal opinion I have driven both of them, it's almost the same as driving the real machine. It is good for the readiness, and the hands on training, of the Soldiers will be will be a plus," said Colon.
"It's almost the same. Last time I jumped in and used one of these models was back in 2012. The training person told us they are available 24/7. That is very good because it doesn't need to be during battle assemblies, it can be during week days. That's one of the benefits with this training, that it has a direct impact in the readiness of the unit."
Along with readiness there is also proficiency.
"With this type of Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), the most valuable thing is being proficient with the machine," said Colon. "Hopefully with these simulators we will have that."
Other positive aspects of using the simulator is that their implementation save time and money.
"We have several cranes in Ceiba, so we're talking about 300 Soldiers waiting for two machines. Now we can make coordination between the units during a battle assembly, so they can have training time with the simulators," said Colon.
"This is easier for us. We usually have to drive to Ceiba, and get the equipment, before we get here, and do a lot of planning. With these simulators the process is simplified," said Sgt. Lelin Padilla, of the 268th Inland Cargo Transfer Company- U.S. Army Reserve Puerto Rico, out of Fort Buchanan, PR.
The simulators not only benefit the Soldiers trained to use them, but Soldiers in other MOS' as well.
"We can cross train these Soldiers that are not MOS qualified as Cargo Specialists. We actually bring them in here and have some hands on training with the simulator prior to give them a road test or some hands on training, in preparation for the real machine to eventually get them licensed. That can be done, that's another benefit that we have with these kind of simulators," said Colon.
By having these simulators available in Fort Buchanan, the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean, sustains and develops the readiness and lethality of the Soldiers.