Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. --
Underneath a flak jacket and Kevlar, a Marine searches for a set of keys, frantic he runs out prepared for the worst. He’ll return with bad news: he has lost the keys. Head down, he steps out on to the unforgiving cold gray cement, only to realize that today’s training is for the humvee, which requires no key.
In order to begin the humvee course, taught by the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, students must complete an online test, then undergo a basic skill test before they hit the road.
After a week of test driving and classes, Marines travel in pairs and learn to operate and maneuver during the humvee course by driving 250 miles. After completing the milage requirements, they will be graded on their first road test.
On the first day, the Marines step out to meet their vehicle for the week, becoming acquainted and familiar with each switch and dial on the dashboard of the military vehicle.
“Attending the course gives Marines one more way to be mission essential,” said Cpl. Craig Santos, a student going through the current humvee course. “Going through the course gives Marines a chance to become more proficient and knowledgeable in operating a military vehicle.”
After a bit of hands-on training, the group moves into the classroom in order to learn how to properly and effectively drive the military vehicle.
“It is important that all Marines learn to operate military vehicles because it makes the units more independent on unit support,” said Sgt. Rafael Ramos, chief licensing instructor. “To me, I believe that all Marines should have a humvee license.”
During the required classes, Marines are taught how to fill out trip tickets, how to record miles, what to watch out for while driving during the day or night time, how to tow another vehicle and more.
“I believe the most important part of the skill test is the preventative maintenance checks and services,” Ramos added. “If anything were to go wrong, they would know how to properly fix and maintain the vehicle.”
Once the course is completed, the Marines will receive an OF 346, which is a Government Motor Vehicle Operator's Identification Card. On the card, it states, they can operate all tactical government vehicles.
When the license is issued it lasts for four years and once the term is up, the operator can apply for a renewal, and does not have to take a refresher course, according to Ramos.
Over five days the students of the humvee course learned to properly drive in reverse, drive at night and earned their mileage around Fightertown. The course helps maximize their capability of driving a humvee and remain mission ready in order to keep the Air Station rolling.