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NEWS | Aug. 28, 2018

Ruling the road with one of the Army’s most rugged vehicles

By 1st Lt. Marcus Matthews-Marion 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Nineteen U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area-based 300th Sustainment Brigade completed three days of rigorous training and received military licenses on Monday.

The brigade is a logistics support that falls under the larger 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

Those licenses, inked with their company commander’s signature, officially certified them to drive the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle — commonly known as an HMMWV to military members and civilians alike.

“Didn’t do a lot of extra curricular things in high school. If anything, I was an artist and a paintballer,” said Spc. Ian Pitkin, a Euless resident and 2010 Colleyville Heritage High School graduate who received the first military license of his three-year career.

He said when he was sketching minor masterpieces and placing well-aimed shots at fellow paint ball enthusiasts almost a decade ago, he never would have thought he’d be driving a 2.6-ton behemoth like the HMMWV.

“I actually wanted to design my own video game. I tried it and found out it wasn’t what I wanted,” Pitkin continued, eyes lighting up behind his black-framed glasses. “I was walking through a mall and was stopped by a recruiter and thought, ‘Why not?’ Seven years later, I’m behind the wheel of this thing and the military trained me to do it.”

Now that he’s trained and ready, much like his other 18 classmates, he’ll have his hands on its sleek black steering wheel more often than not. He'll also be armed with a fair amount of respect for one of the U.S. military's most rugged vehicles.

The HMMWV is listed at a curb weight — the weight of a vehicle without occupants or baggage — between 5,200 or 5,900 pounds and can reach past 7,000 when fitted with a maximum payload of ammunition.


It can be a beast on the roadways, one deserving of the respect of both dedicated training by the best possible instructors and peerless operation by capable and combat ready USAR Soldiers.

The training, proctored by Master Driver Staff Sgt. Paul Bailey and tested by Master Driver Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Wiley with an assist from Sgt. Devin Mayes, measured Soldiers knowledge of road safety, basic convoy operations, and vehicle maintenance procedures. The testing requirements included a 30-question exam and a hands-on driving test.

Mayes, a Houstonian and a former Conroe High School track athlete that graduated in 2014, has held his license for four consecutive years. 

Soldiers are required to renew their licenses upon leaving a unit or leaving the base for another duty station per Army regulation. That basic rule rings true for each vehicle with which the Soldier is licensed.

The 300th Sustainment Brigade is a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The command is made up of Soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. As part of America’s Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.