NEWS | March 7, 2022

Troops to Trucks program paves way for military drivers to earn CDL

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

In Virginia, the Troops to Trucks program, managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, provides an avenue of ease for current and former military members to obtain their commercial driver’s license. For most, obtaining a CDL requires both a knowledge and a skills test, but for military members both requirements may be waived depending on military driving experience and occupational specialty.
 
“With a shortage of qualified drivers, transportation companies are hiring,” reads the DMV brochure on the program. “Troops to Trucks connects service members with good, high-paying positions in one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs.”
 
To qualify for the skills test waiver, individuals must have two or more years of safe driving experience with heavy military vehicles. They must by licensed Virginia residents, and either be current military members, serving in any branch or component, including the National Guard, or have been released from military service within the last year. In addition to a medical exam, applicants must also submit confirmation from their commander on their military driving experience.
 
Those serving in specific transportation-focused career fields, such as 88M Motor Transport Operators, may be eligible for the knowledge test waiver as well. 
 
Staff Sgt. Dustin Dickens, a recruiter for the Virginia Army National Guard, participated in the Troops to Trucks program shortly after its introduction in 2012.
 
“I was one of the first ones that I know of to complete the process for the state, and it was one of the best benefits from the Guard that I have been able to participate in,” Dickens said. He participated in the program after his second deployment to Iraq. He needed a job and had the required driving experience necessary to qualify.
 
“I had a job within two weeks of getting my CDL,” he said. The process, he said, was simple. He compiled the required documents including evidence of his medical exam and military driving experience, and that was it. The turnaround time was quick, and the jobs he qualified for were well-paying.
 
Even current and former military members without extensive military driving experience may qualify for training and testing at select military installations across the state. Visit the Troops to Trucks website here or check out the program brochure to learn more.

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