FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The 80th Training Command’s Regional Training Maintenance Site Fort Indian Town Gap graduated its most recent class of Wheeled Recovery Specialists, also known by the designation H8 (pronounced as “Hotel-8”), on March 24, 2023, after a two-week long course, administered by experienced instructors from the 94th Training Division.
H8 is an identifier that Mechanics receive, allowing them to recover vehicles that are stuck, or are in operatable. The goal for these Soldiers is to retrieve the vehicle in the fastest and safest way possible.
Spc. Steven Kanterman from Charlie Company 1st 128th Brigade Support Battalion in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, was faced with a difficult situation the second day of the course. While there he found out that a battle buddy, that he recently returned from deployment with passed away. Kanterman was so appreciative of the instructors and staff at RTSM-FIG attitudes towards him and his brother as they battled with getting this tough news and trying to stay focused on the course.
Kanterman said, “they set the bar for what a schoolhouse should be; what good leadership should be.” He said he will never forget how they supported him through this difficult time in his life.
Kanterman’s advice for future Soldiers coming to the H8 course is to stay humble, “we are all here to learn a skill, and even if you already know how to do something, there is more than one way to skin a cat, so be willing to listen and learn.”
Spc. Kelsey Akers from the 229 Chemical Company in Rocky Mount, Virginia was recently assigned to the recovery team at her unit before attending the H8 course.
She stated that she was excited to learn how to operate the vehicles and tools used in a recovery firsthand.
Being one of the few female’s mechanics in the field and the only female in her unit, Akers had to make sure that the males in her unit communicate properly with her and her them. She felt that that was an essential piece not just for day-to-day but for being a H8. Akers said, you must constantly communicate with the people doing the recovery for safety and efficiency.
Akers stated that she appreciates the patience show to her by the instructors at RTSM FIG. “I am a visual learner, said Aker, and the things they were saying did not click until I was able to visually see it, but the instructors were patient and made sure I was able to follow along until we got to the hands-on portions when I could actually see the equipment and have everything make sense.”
Sgt. Andrew Walter, an instructor at RTSM-FIG, wants all his students to leave this course being able to think outside the box, to think through what they can to think through situations they are faced with in the field quickly and efficiently.
The most rewarding thing for him as an instructor is helping Soldiers progress their career. “99 percent of the Soldiers that come through here want to be here, they want to learn this course, they want to progress their careers, and they want to become better assets to the military,” said Walter.