The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Operator New Equipment Training (OPNET) Course at the 88th Readiness Division-operated Draw Yard at Fort McCoy has hosted a variety of Soldiers, including Special Forces teams.
For the first time in its history, the class which teaches the students the characteristics and capabilities of the vehicles commonly known as JLTVs, hosted two U.S. Air Force Airmen from Nov. 14-17.
Staff Sgts. Charlie McNair and James Jessie came all the way from the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England — a distance of nearly 4,000 miles. Both are ground transportation specialists, which is similar to the U.S. Army’s motor transport operators commonly known as 88-Mikes.
McNair said his command, which is responsible for the planning and execution of all wing deployment operations and transportation of cargo and base personnel, is preparing to receive JLTVs. So, his leadership wanted its Airmen to obtain knowledge on the operations of the JLTV, and Fort McCoy was the only base listed where JLTV OPNET was offered for Army Reserve Soldiers and military technicians. He was joined by three Reserve Soldiers who also were military technicians.
The students spent the first two days learning how these vehicles powered by a turbocharged diesel engine with a sophisticated transmission operate. The classroom instruction also included preventive maintenance checks and services, such as checking fluid levels, and the ins and outs of the Driver Smart Display Unit and the Central Tire Inflation System.
The last two days, they drove the JLTVs, including on a precision driving course which included three back-up stations and a railroad crossing, and an off-road course.
Jesus Valles, a Logistics Sustainment Training Instructor, said a JLTV can be challenging to drive because of its limited visibility. “I want them to feel that when you are making a sharp left turn, at some point, they won’t have full visibility,” said Valles who has taught more than 10 of these classes.
The students also trained on a simulator before driving to the Precision Driving Course. Valles said a simulator allows the students to train on terrain scenarios Fort McCoy does not offer because it is mostly flat. For example, the students will learn how to use the CTIS cross country setting.
McNair said a JLTV will be the most advanced military vehicle he has driven. It is known as the first military vehicle that communicates with the driver.
Jessie said he does not have much experience with military vehicles and thought the class was interesting and very informative. “Being able to jump into these JLTVs is going to be fun,” said Jessie.
Valles said there have been several improvements to the class once after-action reviews were completed. One was spending more time driving the JLTVs on the highways. The reason for this was that former students pointed out that most of the time would be spent going from their Reserve Center to their training exercise site like Fort McCoy.
Valles said overall this class teaches the students the basics of operating a JLTV and its intent is for the students to return to their units and continue the training.
Something that McNair, who is a trainer at his squadron, will be doing.
“The more knowledge we know now, we can go back and train airmen who are there,” said McNair. “I will be able to teach and show them what to do.”