FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle has rolled off the assembly line, and Army Reserve instructors with the 94th Training Division -- Force Sustainment were the first to begin training Soldiers on the Army's newest vehicle in the first JLTV Operator New Equipment Training here May 6-11, 2019.
"It feels really great bringing the 21st century into the Army and the military as a whole, because this new vehicle is the future," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Saunders, the JLTV course instructor assigned to the 100th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 94th TD, 80th Training Command (The Army School System). "This course gives me the opportunity to ride in and teach on a vehicle that the new generation will be driving."
The first JLTV OPNET course taught 32 students on the vehicle's characteristics, operations, operator maintenance, and safety.
"It's a 40-hour course [for students] to learn from us how to handle this vehicle," said Saunders. "This vehicle is really great with safety and has a lot of features that protect the Soldier."
"It's a top-notch vehicle compared to what we used to have," Saunders added. "The 94th and the 80th are doing a really great job with having this vehicle here, bringing it to the military, and spearheading the training."
The Army Reserve has procured 60 JLTVs to train Soldiers and Department of Defense Civilians. The responsibility for this training lies with the instructors from the 94th TD, 80th TC.
"In this JLTV OPNET course, our Army Reserve instructors are at the forefront of the Army's modernization strategy," said Maj. Gen. Bruce E. Hackett, the 80th TC's commanding general. "Their efforts enhance wartime readiness and will prepare this generation of warfighters on equipment they will use to fight and win our nation's wars."
In addition to learning about safety, the students were required to operate the vehicle approximately 100 miles across multiple surfaces and scenarios. These included: steep slopes, tight turns, obstacles, rough terrain, city streets, night driving, highways, and high-speed avenues.
For student Spc. Kourtney Patton, assigned to the 346th Psychological Operations Company, she felt slightly intimidated with the new vehicle.
"These vehicles are massive, and I was not expecting it," said Patton. "I noticed a lot of positive differences between the Humvee and the JLTVs, like the turning radius, braking system, and it being more high-tech. It allows us to be more capable in doing more operations."
With the advanced technology found in the JLTV, Patton also sees the vehicle as a benefit to her job.
"We go on missions, so having the high-tech screens inside there can definitely help us," Patton added.
The lessons learned on JLTV operations do not stop at the end of the course, as the students leave here with train-the-trainer expertise to take back and teach their respective organizations.
The 94th TD, headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia, supports the 80th TC's mission of more than 2,700 instructors providing essential training to DoD Civilians and Soldiers from the Reserve, National Guard, and active duty.