4960th Multifunctional Training Brigade conducts engineer course amid pandemic and hurricane

By Maj. Melodie Tafao | 9th Mission Support Command | July 31, 2020

FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii —

The 4960th Multifunctional Training Brigade, a subordinate unit of the 9th Mission Support Command (MSC), headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, embodies its motto of “Train to Lead.” The school house continues to conduct quality courses, such as the Interior Plumbing Re-Class Course. Even during Hurricane Douglas’ approach to the Hawaiian Islands, the school continued to operate safely.

“The conditions really haven’t made an impact to the course,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dorsey Gates, 4960th MFTB Course Manager. “It’s made the unit think outside the box.”

The school has taken the appropriate safety measures, while adapting to the COVID-19 training environment. The Interior Plumbing Re-Class course is one of three courses currently being offered at the school house. Nine students are enrolled, maintaining a very safe instructor to student ratio. This ratio is consistent with the normal 8-12 student average; however, all the students were from within the State of Hawaii.

The State of Hawaii has a 14-day quarantine policy for anyone traveling to the state. While the school house was prepared in taking in out-of-state students, there were no students that signed up outside of Hawaii. The school house was prepared to ensure that out of state students adhered to the guidelines, while additional procedures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of the students and instructors.

“We check their temperatures before they are able to entire the building and again after lunch,” said Gates. “During a demonstration, the instructor and the students must wear their face mask due to the close proximity; however, the students are able to take them off when they work in their individual booths that are not only six feet apart, but separated by a wall.”

While the engineers are receiving the necessary training in interior plumbing, there have been some changes to the overall training schedule.

“During the course, we like to instill military bearing with our students,” Gates said. “However, we are unable to continue organized Physical Readiness Training and march in formation”. Students are instructed to conduct individual physical training.

Sgt. Roy Gano, 4960th MFTB Mission Support Detachment Operations Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), is taking this course to add to his engineer repertoire as a carpenter and electrician. He would like to assist as an instructor in all three of the engineer courses: electrician, carpentry, and interior plumbing. With this being his third engineer course, Gano is familiar with the training at the schoolhouse.

“It’s going well so far,” said Gano. “We had to stop training Sunday afternoon thru Monday afternoon due to the hurricane, but the school house is taking the necessary measures to keep us safe.”

Despite the addition of the COVID-19 safety measures and procedures and the temporary break due to the impending hurricane, the 4960th MFTB drives on.

“We as an Army and a school house have to adapt to the ever changing environment,” said Gates. “We adapt to whatever situation we are in.”

Train to Lead.