FORT MCCOY, Wis. –
Army Reserve instructors carry a wealth of knowledge and experience in training the force for numerous military specialties. The instructors from the 3rd Brigade, 94th Training Division – Force Sustainment are no exception as they train Army Reserve, National Guard, active-duty, and Civilian personnel on the military’s newest tactical vehicle: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Twenty Soldiers in all Army components and multiple military occupational specialties took advantage of the latest JLTV Operator New Equipment Training Course at the JLTV Training Center in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Feb. 17-21, 2020.
“The 94th is leading the force on this training, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Warminski, the JLTV Training Center’s noncommissioned officer in charge.
While the initial fielding of this military vehicle started last year, the 94th TD continues to lead the JLTV driver’s training courses for all Army’s components. Still, the course is also available for any Soldier, regardless of MOS.
“Anybody in any MOS can take the OPNET driving training course," Warminski said. "Whether Soldiers are in combat arms MOSs or are military police, combat engineers; really any MOS can attend because they will be out there and doing the driving.”
Instructors train students on more than 70 vehicle exercises, such as starting and stopping the vehicle, approaching and changing lanes, merging and exiting on an expressway, and driving on various terrains.
“I’m impressed by the instructors because they know their stuff. Everyone is up to speed on this vehicle. They answer all of my questions,” said 1st Lt. Edward Hartley, an OPNET student currently assigned to the 353rd Civil Affairs Command, Staten Island, New York.
The invaluable knowledge the instructors bring to the JLTV courses aids students in better understanding the JLTV and significantly adds to the training experience.
“The JLTV is very much a technology-oriented vehicle, and it takes away a lot of variables that you don’t have to think about anymore,” Hartley said. “I plan to take the knowledge I’ve learned here back to my unit and give a full briefing on the ins and outs and the dos and don’ts.”
At the beginning of the week-long course, students learn the vehicle’s characteristics, features, operations, maintenance, and aspects, so Soldiers will safely handle the vehicle during the driving phase.
“Soldiers are learning the sophistication and technological advances of the JLTV,” said Warminski, a Hubbard, Ohio native. “They will be amazed at how this vehicle handles and operates.”
Warminski understands the complexities of fielding a new tactical vehicle because earlier in his career, he took part in another monumental vehicle fielding.
“When I was a young Soldier, I helped field the Humvee, and now I’m helping to field the JLTV that will eventually replace the Humvee,” he said. “I remember thinking the Humvee was the greatest thing to replace the jeeps that we were so used to working on and driving.”
Compared to the Humvee, similarities include the support of a two- or four-person crew plus gunner and provides mine resistance and ambush protection. However, the JLTV is approximately two-thirds lighter, offers greater speed over terrain, and better fuel efficiency.
“We got this brand-new piece of equipment that was more comfortable to ride in and easier to maneuver,” Warminski added. “Now, Soldiers will start using the JLTVs and will say the same thing about the Humvee that I said about the jeeps.”
With Warminski now in the driver’s seat of training new instructors and Soldiers on using the JLTV, he feels he is coming full circle in his military career.
“I like mentoring NCOs because they’re the ones that are going to carry on after I’ve retired or gone on my way from the military,” he said. “They’re the ones that are going to follow in my footsteps for training and instructing.