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NEWS | March 6, 2024

Soldiers get behind the wheel during 88M MOS Transition Course

By Staff Sgt. Marc Heaton | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

U.S. Army Soldiers from across the nation came together to attend the 88M Motor Transport Operator Course, taught by cadre assigned to 2nd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. The 28-day course teaches Soldiers how to safely operate some of the largest wheeled vehicles in the U.S. Army’s fleet.
Throughout the course, Soldiers learn the basics of how to properly operate several different heavy-wheeled vehicles, including the M1075 HEMTT and the M915 Tractor Trailer over varied terrain and roadways. In addition to learning how to drive, the Soldiers learn how to load and unload equipment and cargo onto trucks and trailers, conduct convoy operations both during day and night, operate their vehicles during blackout conditions, perform vehicle preventive maintenance checks, conduct operator maintenance and complete accident forms.
“We focus on the four big components of the 88M MOS. Those include [Preventative Maintenance Checks and Service], tie-down procedures, basic control, which is operating and driving the vehicles, and ground guide procedures and hand signals,” said Sgt. First Class Roger Jackson, the senior instructor for the 88M course.
Soldiers from across the nation attend the 88M course at Fort Barfoot and represent all three Army components: Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard.
“We get a good mix of everybody here, lots of different MOSs come through and all different ranks. Everything from E-3 to E-7 depending on the class,” said Jackson.
Some of the Soldiers decided to attend the course to further their military careers or to try something new.
“I’m assigned to a transportation company and wanted to learn how to operate all of the different vehicles,” said Spc. Iliana Rodriguez, a 92G Culinary Specialist assigned to the Delaware National Guard’s 1049th Transportation Company.
Others chose to attend the course to gain valuable skills they can take to the civilian job market.
“I decided to reclass to 88M because my civilian job requires a commercial driver’s license and this course will help me get that a lot easier than going to a civilian driving school,” said Spc. Jacob Torres, a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic from El Paso, Texas, assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve.
Several states allow military members with specific training or experience driving heavy military vehicles to obtain a waiver for that state’s skills test requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
Unlike the Advanced Individual Training that new Soldiers attend to obtain their first MOS following Basic Combat Training, this course is for Soldiers who already hold an MOS to transition to the 88M career field.
“The instructors here are really great. They are very patient with us and are so helpful and approachable. They are willing to answer all of our questions, no matter how many times we ask,” said Rodriquez.
One thing that helps is the instructor-to-student ratio. In the current class, there are six instructors, each with years of experience as an 88M, for 20 students. This allows the class to be broken into smaller groups for more direct instruction and hands-on training.
“We have a team of really great instructors at the RTI,” said Jackson. “We try hard to create an environment for learning and to be available for these Soldiers so they can learn these new skills and hopefully take some of that back to their units.”
This class of the Army’s newest Motor Transport Operators is set to graduate March 20, 2024.

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