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AVOC: driving with flight

27 Nov 2013 | Cpl. Sarah Cherry

Marines with Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting took the Airfield Vehicle Operator Indoctrination Course (AVOC) aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Nov. 14.

To those Marines and others aboard the Air Station, it’s just another class and qualification necessary to perform their job. The course is vital, though, and gives ARFF an essential capability.

"In case of an emergency, we need to be able to respond as quickly as possible," said Lance Cpl. Tyler Howkinson, an aircraft rescue fire fighter who attended the course. "This course makes it possible for us to drive the firetrucks onto the airfield safely."

The purpose of AVOC is to train Marines to safely operate vehicles on the airfield and use effective, standardized communications.

"They have to know where the runways are and the layout of the airfield to support aircraft safety," said Staff Sergeant Christopher Jones, who teaches the AVOC class in addition to his usual duties as tower chief for Air Traffic Control.

The topics covered in the course are broad and include knowledge needed to follow Federal Aviation Administration regulations and Air Station regulations. Some of the subjects are: speed limits, off-limit areas, procedures, radio communications, light gun signals, designations and markings, tower locations and emergency procedures.

"Without the class, Marines wouldn’t know proper procedures and could go on a runway during departure or landing by accident," said Jones. "There would be potential loss of human life, injury and loss of equipment."

The Marine Corps is built on the capabilities and leadership of individual Marines. High standards and safety training help to ensure that Marines are as well-protected as possible in their working environment.