FORT HOOD, Texas –
Though it’s not unusual for Sgt. Julius Anderson to be away from his family during training, the active Army Soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, appreciated being home at night while he attended the Wheeled Vehicle Recovery Course.
Anderson, the 546th Area Support Medical Company motor sergeant, was a student at Regional Training Site Maintenance-Fort Hood in October 2015, where Army Reserve instructors teach the same course as their active duty counterparts at Fort Lee, Virginia.
“It’s a whole lot nicer to be able to go to a school like this,” said Anderson, who returned stateside six months earlier after spending a year in Korea. “The fact that I don’t have to go anywhere but still continue my carrier progression is icing on the cake.”
The Department of the Army’s implementation of the One Army School System, which standardizes education for Army schools regardless of component, makes it feasible for Soldiers like Anderson to attend an Army Reserve school and train to the same high standard he’s accustomed to.
“The idea of Reserve ... and active duty schools being separate and different is actually going away,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Klinzing, chief instructor, RTSM-Fort Hood. “Eventually, active duty Soldiers will be told to attend the nearest school house instead of going to Fort Lee, which is currently the active duty maintenance school house.”
The 80th Training Command, which oversees RTSM-Fort Hood, has developed a concept plan designed to accommodate the OASS. The plan is pending approval, but many of the 80th’s 14 training facilities, including RTSM Fort Hood, currently train active duty and Reserve Soldiers as well National Guardsmen.
“The lesson doesn’t change because we have active duty, National Guard or Reserve Soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Rojerio Mendoza, a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic Course instructor. “It’s all the same.”
The school’s location makes it cost effective for units at Fort Hood and neighboring states, but RTSM-Fort Hood is also the only school in the Army Reserve that teaches the Track Vehicle Recovery Course. Other courses include, the wheeled and tracked vehicle mechanic’s courses, a Unit Armorer’s Course and an Advanced Leader Course for mechanics.
“This school is probably one of the best ones I’ve been to,” said Pfc. Tristen Cain, an active duty wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to 2nd Brigade, 112th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado, who attended the course with Anderson. “You get hands-on training and classroom instruction, so it helps both types of learning styles.”
Spc. Adam Johnson, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Forward Support Company 62nd Engineer Battalion, who also attended the Wheeled Vehicle Recovery Course with Anderson, said the instructors are better compared to instructors at other Army schools he’s attended.
“If you don’t know something, they’ll drop everything they’re doing and make sure you learn it,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t good at math formulas and they broke it down Barney style for me.”
Anderson plans on sending his four subordinate Soldiers to the course, which teaches Army mechanics how to properly and safely recover and tow vehicles that may be stuck or inoperable.
“I’d been looking forward to attending this course for 11 years and its right here,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to attend ... if it was only being offered at Fort Lee.”
Anderson said, more importantly, his wife appreciated having him at home during the two and a half week long course.
“She loves it, which means I love it, so we’re all happy,” Anderson said.