CLB-4 Marines take MRAP licensing courseLance Cpl. Tyler J. HlavacCAMP HANSEN, Okinawa (November 21, 2008) -- Thirteen Iraq-bound Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group got behind the wheel of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle during a new pre-deployment training course here Nov. 3-7.
|Students drive the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle for the road-time driving quota during the MRAP vehicle licensing course. Students were required to drive 75 miles of daytime driving and 30 miles of night driving. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Hlavac).
The MRAP vehicle licensing course is new on Okinawa and designed to familiarize Marines with the technical and driving aspects of the more than 30,000 pound four and six wheel personnel carriers used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MLG's six MRAP vehicles are part of 19 total on Okinawa for training.
Of the 19 on Okinawa, 14 are category 1, six passenger vehicles, four are category 2, 10 passenger vehicles and one is a category 3 improvised explosive device-clearing vehicle.
The MRAP vehicle is a heavily armored personnel carrier used by the Army and Marine Corps primarily for explosive ordnance destruction and other route clearance work.
MRAP vehicles are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Marines of CLB-4 can expect to operate the vehicle if deployed there, said Sgt. Daniel Fisher, the primary instructor for the MRAP vehicle licensing course.
The Marines began the course with two days of classroom instruction and a hands-on review of the vehicle. This serves to familiarize the Marines with the vehicle's components before climbing on board.
"During the classroom time, we explain the details of the MRAP, how to drive it and allow the Marines to ask any questions they might have," said Fisher. "We also allow them to examine the vehicle as they may physically see something on the vehicle they might have questions about."
After classroom instruction, the Marines hit the road in their MRAP vehicles. With the guidance of an instructor inside every vehicle, the Marines begin their road-time driving quota of 75 miles of daytime driving and 30 miles of night driving on paved roads. Additionally, the Marines put in 15 miles of driving time on the rougher roads of the Central Training Area.
Fisher said the driving time prepares the Marines for most obstacles they will encounter while driving the MRAP vehicle in the harsh terrain of Iraq or Afghanistan.
"During the driving time the Marines encountered a lot of steep hills, sharp turns and off-road terrain," he said. "They really got a chance to test their own driving abilities and get a feel for the MRAP which, due to its size and weight, handles quite differently from the standard humvee they are used to driving."
Pfc. Damien Kratz, a motor transportation operator with CLB-4, said he enjoyed taking the course as he wanted to gain another vehicle license and was curious about the MRAP vehicle.
"This course is really good and you definitely get in a lot of road time with the MRAP," he said. "The MRAP differs from a humvee in that your view is more limited and it is harder to handle, but makes up for it with a lot of new features such as the Global Positioning System and an electric powered gun turret. I feel comfortable driving the vehicle."
Units seeking to enroll their Marines in the MRAP vehicle licensing course should contact 3rd MLG's logistics section for more information. Marines applying for the course must have a stateside driver's license, an up-armored humvee license and must have completed the driver's improvement course and have at least six months stationed on Okinawa.