CAMP CARROLL, South Korea -- In an emergency, medical support needs to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, and transportation is a major part of that readiness structure.
Soldiers with the 563rd Medical Logistics Company, based at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea, completed driver’s training in January and earned licenses to operate Humvees and larger tactical support vehicles in support of their mission on the Korean peninsula.
The quarterly training, held Jan. 11 to Jan. 15 at USAMMC-K, is part of the unit’s effort to regularly capture any newly arrived Soldiers and ensure an adequate number of drivers are available at all times.
“This training was conducted as part of the company’s initiative to ensure readiness of the organization,” Sgt. 1st Class Rizmel Paguio said. “This training is vital in order to meet the demands of transition to hostilities, or TTH, and support the U.S. Forces Korea’s ‘fight tonight’ motto.”
USAMMC-K is a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command.
Driver’s training is crucial to help educate junior Soldiers on safe driving practices and how to handle different scenarios in accordance with a host nation’s laws and Army regulations.
Ten Soldiers took part in the latest round of training, which includes both classroom and field training sessions.
Drivers learn their responsibilities and liabilities operating military vehicles, as well as take part in rollover and “HEAT” training, road tests while towing trailers and learn about driving in Korea.
“HEAT” stands for “HMMWV (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) Egress Assistance Trainer.” With the use of a simulator, the training teaches Soldiers how to safely navigate a rollover situation in a military vehicle, said Staff Sgt. Craig Meyers.
“HEAT is valuable to Soldiers because it teaches them how to protect and assist their fellow occupants in the vehicle, brace themselves for impact, as well as helping them exit the vehicle safely,” said Meyers, who conducted the training and certified the 10 Soldiers.
“Having experienced a rollover myself during a deployment, I feel like this training prepared me for what a real rollover was like, minus the pain accompanied with a rollover impact,” he added.
The training also helps Soldiers learn how to navigate public roadways in highly populated areas of Korea, where street signs are in a foreign language.
“One of the biggest hurdles that Soldiers face are in the city when [Korean] nationals just randomly pull over and put on emergency flashers, which can cause congestion and hazardous lane availability,” Meyers said, adding that scooters and mopeds are common as well and can pose additional safety challenges for drivers.
Meyers, a master driver instructor, said the training was a first for six of the 10 Soldiers in the course. The other four just needed a refresher for their certifications.
“Our mission at USAMMC-K is to provide the Korean peninsula with Class VIII medical supplies, and without Soldiers licensed on military vehicles, we could not complete our job,” Meyers said.