By Sgt. LaShic PattersonFebruary 1, 2019
VILSECK, Germany - 2d Cavalry Regiment infantryman Soldiers participated in the Stryker Leaders Course Pre-Pilot I to instill familiarization with the Stryker family of vehicles and driver's training in Vilseck, Germany, Jan. 22-23, 2019.
Col. Thomas Hough, commander, 2CR, spearheaded the idea of the pre-pilot course, which will serve as a method for training Soldiers on the Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle-Dragoon and gathering feedback to prepare the full course.
While all non-commissioned officers and officers are invited for the full course, the course is geared towards infantrymen, indirect fire infantrymen, cavalry scouts, Stryker systems maintainers, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists, and Soldiers in field artillery under the 13 series military occupational specialties.
Totaling three phases, the January Pre-Pilot I course covered the characteristics and components of the Stryker ICV-D, including each vehicles capabilities and limitations, and allowed participants the chance to operate and drive the vehicle.
"It's a chance for NCOs and officers that didn't get the opportunity to go to the Stryker Leaders Course at Fort Benning to let them come in and get a course under their belt so that they know what they're doing when they get to their unit," said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon M. Sullivan, infantryman, Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Regimental Support Squadron, 2CR.
Sullivan, who is also the senior instructor for the Stryker Leaders Course Pre-Pilot I, partnered with another NCO, Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. Matthews of 2CR, along with the 7th Army Training Command and their organization, the Combined Arms Training Center, to create the three-phase course.
The Pre-Pilot I course ensures that the program of instruction utilizes the best method of instruction and answers questions such as, "Is it too sophisticated, or is it not sophisticated enough? How many instructors do we need per student," explained Sullivan.
"[Soldiers] learn things to get the job done. It might not be the right method; [they] might not have that technical and tactical experience and knowledge," said Sullivan. "Coming to the full course, hopefully, we can open their eyes to a little bit more and teach them some new things, some better methods just overall [to] get everyone on the same operating picture throughout the regiment."
On the first day, the Soldiers took a quick survey followed by a pre-test that included 41 questions to help determine their level of knowledge on the Stryker variants. Sullivan covered the Stryker vehicle capabilities such as driving over cross country terrain, all weather conditions and low silhouette along with vehicle components such as tire assembly, mounting and dismounting brackets, the driver's hatch, stowage brackets for basic issue items, the trailer electrical connector and ramp door assembly for entry and exit of vehicles.
"You have to learn everything on the go," said Sgt. Samuel Wiltse, infantryman and vehicle gunner, 2CR, on his initial introduction to the Stryker ICV-D. "A class like this is really good because I learned things I didn't even know."
In addition to Wiltse, participants of the course included Spc. Weston Beaver, Sgt. John Herrold, Sgt. Charles Palma and Spc. Crispin Jones, all of whom are infantrymen and work for the regimental commander and regimental command sergeant major as part of their personal security detail and regimental mobile command post of 2CR.
The second day took a hands-on approach of instruction with the Stryker vehicles and included covering preventive maintenance checks and services, testing the height management system and central tire inflation system, fuel checks and tire checks such as switching the tires between 8x4 and 8x8, which functions much like the rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive for privately-owned vehicles.
The course participants also practiced ground guide arm signals and maneuver driving techniques on the road, tank trail and off terrain to instill proper techniques. Watching out for each other's safety and ensuring success, each Soldier would shout warnings such as, "put on your safety lever," as they each took turns operating and driving the vehicle.
"I'm super comfortable," said Beaver. "I've been driving for three years now; it's like driving a car to me. [With] this class, a lot of new information was brought up, so I really enjoyed learning everything."
With the next two pre-pilot courses scheduled for February and March, the Pre-Pilot II course will focus on how to employ weapon systems while the Pre-Pilot III course will focus on maintenance, simulations, communications and safety training according to Sullivan.
Implementation of the full course is scheduled for April 2019.