By Lt. Robert A. Clark
CAMP MOREELL, Kuwait - Seabees attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 Detachment Camp Moreell conducted an MRAP licensing class Oct. 20. The class was taught at Camp Moreell in Kuwait and produced 6 new MRAP qualified drivers. MRAP is short for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and is one of the most secure ground transportation vehicles available. They are used to transport personnel and escort convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The class lasted three days and included classroom lectures, vehicle familiarization, daytime operations, and a nighttime exercise utilizing the MRAPs advanced low light driving technology.
Construction Mechanic Michael Garret and Construction Mechanic Luke Larsen, who are assigned as part of the MRAP repair facility, assisted in teaching the class. Alfa Company personnel maintain and repair several different varieties of MRAPS in the Alfa Company yard at Camp Moreell. However, Construction Mechanics Garret and Larsen have become the “go to” members of Alfa Company for all issues pertaining to MRAPs.
“These vehicles are impressive in their design and also their operation. Despite having complex systems on board, an MRAP is relatively easy to learn how to drive”, said CMCN Garret.
The students who attended the class had only positive things to report about the experience.
“The MRAP is a great license to have because it is different than the typical Civil Engineer Support Equipment that Seabees are used to. It gives the operator the experience of driving a tactical vehicle," said Senior Chief Utilities man Shawn Holden. "It is also just fun to drive.”
The training will increase the overall readiness of the battalion by ensuring a sufficient number of licensed operators are available for Convoy Security Escort drivers, field training exercises, and future deployments. The new licensees will become an immediate asset to Alfa Company by doubling the number of qualified MRAP drivers in the Detachment.
In addition to taking care of the vehicles, the Construction Mechanics also provide presentations about the MRAPs to Distinguished Visitors when they visit or stay at Camp Moreell. The presentations include a classroom overview of the capabilities of the MRAP followed by a demonstration of the MRAPs in action while they navigate various types of road surfaces.