By By Sgt. 1st Class Alejandro Sias, 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division WestMay 9, 2011
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. - The 2nd Battalion, 361st Regiment, "Coyote," 5th Armored Brigade, conducted a Mine-Resistant Ambush- Protected vehicle familiarization course for the 236th Inland Cargo Transportation Company, U.S. Army Reserve, on the expansive military training range here May 2.
"Coyote" Observer Controller/Trainer Staff Sgt. Jeff Burkard detailed the purpose of the MRAP training.
"The vehicle familiarization course is a one-day course that covers the general maintenance and basic operations of the MRAP," explained Burkard.
There are different variants of the MRAP vehicle, with the model used in the course being the MaxxPro.
The MaxxPro MRAP vehicle is a category one vehicle, designed for urban operations, and is an armored fighting vehicle designed with the goal of surviving improvised explosive devices and ambushes. Sgt. 1st Class Brandi Rensch, "Coyote's" non-commissioned officer-in-charge for the MRAP training pointed out the MRAP vehicle has a "V" shaped hull underneath which deflects the blast of a land mine or IED away from the vehicle to protect its occupants.
"There are videos out there that show people getting in [an MRAP] and they purposely set off a bomb and then they walk out afterward to show the safety of it," said Rensch.
The MRAP familiarization course is not one where you go and get your license to drive, although joint war fighters do get some drive time.
"We have been working on a new MRAP drivers course and just did a rehearsal on it; it is a four-day course that is coming up," added Rensch.
She also stated Oshkosh manufactures the M-ATV, that is, the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle, and she is hoping to get some soon. The Oshkosh M-ATV has more mobility, more protection and is a medium tactical vehicle that was specifically engineered for treacherous terrain.
"Coyote's" Delta team handles the MRAP training and is currently training Army Reserve Soldiers from the Afghanistan-bound 236th Inland Cargo Transportation Company. Spc. Mark Herman, 236th ICTC from Pekin, Ill., went through the course and reflected on his experience.
"It's ... good training and experience, it's real good to give Soldiers a chance to actually see some of the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle," said Herman, whose military service includes three deployments to Iraq and one to Bosnia.
The MRAP familiarization course, the upcoming MRAP driver's course and the arrival of the new M-ATV vehicles together will provide an invaluable experience to the war fighter that is being led by the "Coyote" Battalion.