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    Combat Logistics Battalion 3 constructs combat vehicle operators' training course in Afghanistan

    Combat Logistics Battalion 3 Constructs Combat Driver's Course

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Ronald Stauffer | A MaxxPro, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle manned by Marines assigned to...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Ronald Stauffer 

    Marine Forces Central Command

    CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan — Motor transport Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 recently created a new combat driving course at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to prevent accidents and save lives.

    The 2.3-mile-long combat vehicle operators' training course, constructed on three acres of land within the camp's confines, will enhance the driving capabilities of Marines and prepare them for the hazards of Afghan road conditions.

    Using military bulldozers, tractors and other heavy equipment, Marines dug into the soil creating a course filled with rough terrain — small berms, potholes and steep inclines — to simulate local driving conditions.

    The course is laden with 28 various obstacles, featuring challenges on raised ground, uneven ground and more, which drivers will face in the open terrain and villages within Afghanistan.

    Gunnery Sgt. Robert E. Walston, the motor transport chief for Motor Transportation Company, CLB-3, who led the project, is one of the original creators of the first CVOT course built in 2005 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

    Walston set out with 39 Marines to build a course that accurately replicated the rugged, mountainous Afghan terrain and revamp the original classroom instruction to better suite the hazards Marines will face.

    "Gunny Walston and I used to work together at Camp Lejeune, and when we got out here, we talked about getting a course up and running," said Sgt. Michael L. Mejia, a motor transport operator assigned to Motor Transport Company, CLB-3.

    Mejia, who was also one of the first instructors at Camp Lejeune, applied his experience and knowledge in the making of the course layout, making sure the heavy equipment operators built what they needed and constructed obstacles accurately.

    "The original courses are already in the fleet and popping up everywhere, but this course is specifically for Afghanistan," Mejia said.

    While 10 Marines constructed the course, 29 sergeants updated the five mission-essential task lists used in classroom portions of the training. These lists are designed to provide Marines with the knowledge they need before sitting behind the steering wheel of a tactical vehicle.

    "Not everything can be taught on the course," said Sgt. Christopher D. Taylor, a motor transport operator assigned to Motor Transport Company, CLB-3. "A lot more of the learning is going to happen in the classroom."

    Sgt. Tony A. Winchester, a logistic vehicle system operator assigned to Motor Transport Company, CLB-3, said the task lists introduce the vehicle settings, such as fluid levels and electronics, as well as the capabilities of the vehicles. He said they also cover personal protective equipment; what should and should not be worn.

    "[The course] takes someone who is not a motor transport operator, breaks it down for them and shows them the importance of the basics of [operating] a vehicle and how to drive the course. It also applies the fundamentals of driving, dynamics of a vehicle, and the pre-combat checks and inspections before driving the course," Winchester said. "The [task lists] explain operational risk management and are similar to a convoy brief, which is one of the main things Marines are required to have."

    The majority of the sergeants creating the Bastion course have spent countless hours driving through the combat environments of southern Afghanistan. They've applied their knowledge to the training.

    The Marines will be able to get a feel for the terrain, and it probably won't be anything like some of the things they may have encountered in previous deployments, said Sgt. Jacob D. Anspach, a motor transport operator assigned to Motor Transport Company, CLB-3.

    Sgt. William J. Feigert, a logistic vehicle system operator assigned to Motor Transport Company, CLB-3, said Marines in Afghanistan, like those in Iraq, will now have a course geared toward the situations they will face. He also stated that the course will ensure Marines know what they will be driving through before they ever leave the protective wire of the camp.

    Feigert said the constructed terrain is equal to, if not harder than, the terrain a driver would experience outside the camp and will exceed most expectations.

    "This course is going to give the Marines a giant leap forward," Feigert said. "It's going to save lives, and you can't replace that."

    According to Lt. Col. Michael Jernigan, CLB-3's commanding officer, the course was built as a training tool for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which recently arrived in Afghanistan. With the knowledge acquired during the battalion's seven-month deployment, Jernigan said he hopes that CLB-3's experience will lay a foundation for the MEB from which to build further knowledge.



    Date Taken: 05.16.2009
    Date Posted: 05.19.2009 08:56
    Story ID: 33799
    Location: CAMP BASTION, AF 

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