Driver Training Improves Readiness for Infantry Battalion

Army National Guard Driver Training
SPC Jesse Fugate, a mechanic assigned to India Company, 429th Brigade Sustainment Battalion, teaches Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, about preventive maintenance checks and services on a light utility truck at Harold L. Disney Training Center, Artemus, Kentucky, on July 30, 2020.
(Photo by SGT Alan Royalty.)

ARTEMUS, Kentucky – Army National Guard Soldiers from India Company, 429th Brigade Sustainment Battalion, the logistical support company for 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, hosted driver training at Harold L. Disney Training Center July 28-30.

Selected members from all Kentucky National Guard companies within the battalion were invited during their annual training as the 1-149th continues to cross-train Soldier skills amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The driver training comprises three phases. First, Soldiers must complete technical training and pass a written exam. Next, and before they get behind the wheel, they learn to conduct preventive maintenance checks and services on their vehicles. In the last phase, students apply what they learned. Participants practice day- and night-time driving to simulate a variety of tactical tasks and prepare them for combat or other training missions.

Sergeant (SGT) Jared Hinkle, master driver instructor with India Company, oversaw the training. SGT Hinkle has conducted driver training for more than a year and comes to the Kentucky Guard with a first-responder background. As a civilian, SGT Hinkle is a firefighter and teaches recruits how to drive fire engines.

“These are not like your normal civilian vehicles,” SGT Hinkle says of the various military vehicles used during training. “They are a lot stronger and a lot heavier. Most of these new Soldiers have not driven anything heavier than their own personal car or truck.”

The heavy vehicles included the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV), High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee), Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) with Load Handling System (LHS), and HEMTT Fueler truck.

Private First Class (PFC) Cheyenne Ramirez, also an instructor with India Company, is confident in the instructors and the training provided. Navigating behind the wheel of a large truck can feel intimidating to young Soldiers, so this training builds the confidence to accomplish their mission.

“A lot of our 88M Soldiers (truck drivers) do this on the civilian side, so we came to this with a lot of combined civilian and military experience,” says PFC Ramirez.

India Company provides logistical support to 1-149th, which tactically operates within the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the Virginia Army National Guard. The company measures its effectiveness in the readiness and performance of the Units it supports.

The platoon leader for India Company, Second Lieutenant (2LT) Rachel Hardin, says Soldiers cross-trained on multiple jobs become more versatile and can contribute to a wider range of tasks involved in mission readiness.

“Soldiers confident in driving and not afraid to volunteer to move or service a vehicle helps everyone out,” says 2LT Hardin. “There are a lot of Soldiers out there leaning on us for support in a variety of ways. Providing drivers’ training is a way we know we are adding value to their training and contributing to future missions, indirectly, and at all echelons.”

The Army National Guard gives you the opportunity to pursue a civilian career while serving part-time in your home State, so your family is always close by. With positions in more than 130 career fields, you can find your perfect fit. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more.

From an original article by SGT Alan Royalty, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in August 2020.

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All Roads Lead to Career Success with Guard Service

Austin Vogt
SGT Austin Vogt at the 1-279, 45th brigade infantry combat team NCO induction ceremony with NATO allies. The youngest inductee gets to cut the cake.

Sometimes you find yourself in a position that turns out to be completely different than where you thought you would be – it even happens in the Army National Guard.

Sergeant (SGT) Austin Vogt of the Oklahoma Army National Guard has navigated changes in direction throughout his service journey, but is focused on his destination – a successful civilian career.

For the last six years, he has served as a Food Service Specialist, primarily responsible for the preparation and service of food in field or garrison food service operations. Food service specialists must complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instructions. Part of this time is spent in the classroom, and part takes place in the field, including practice in food preparation.

SGT Vogt joined the Army National Guard because he admired military service. Both of his grandfathers served in the Army. His paternal grandfather served during war time in Korea and Vietnam. His maternal grandfather had active duty as well as Army National Guard service – ironically as a cook. He says he also was impressed by the benefits offered by the Guard, especially education benefits.

When he first joined the Army National Guard, he was offered several different positions that didn’t really appeal to his interests – Infantry, truck driver – and eventually was offered a job as a cook.

“It seemed like an easy job,” SGT Vogt says. “I like to cook, and I like to eat.”

But his MOS wasn’t exactly what he expected.

“It sounded good at the time, until I got there,” SGT Vogt says. “It was more work and less sleep than I thought.”

Due to under-staffing, there were days when he found himself working from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m., including cleanup, running all shifts – except lunch, which was in the field. There were nights when he slept for just 45 minutes.

Eventually, he realized that being a cook probably wasn’t the best position for him. He was looking toward the future and wanted to set himself up for a successful civilian career with higher pay.

Instead of the kitchen, he set his sights on an IT career. “I thought if I had IT training, I could work my way up and eventually work as a contractor,” SGT Vogt says. Now he is about to transition to a career in communications as a Signal Support Systems Specialist.

Through the Army Relearning Certification Class, he is earning coins that act as a credit. “Courses are very expensive,” SGT Vogt explains. “These classes will help me when going after jobs and will open more doors for me.” He also plans to take advantage of the GI Bill for college courses.

SGT Vogt has been working toward his new goal in his civilian life as well. After spending the last two years in environmental and construction work, he recently took a job in life insurance sales.

“My goal right now is to absorb as much information as I can, to learn about the field and get hands-on experience.”

He sees his civilian career in sales as a segue.

“In the job market, you have to be able to sell yourself. I am learning a whole new vocabulary – and words to avoid,” SGT Vogt says. “I definitely think I am heading in the right direction.”

With career opportunities in more than 130 positions, the Army National Guard can help you find your perfect fit. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more. 

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Pennsylvania Guard Helps Return Remains of Korean War Soldier

The Pennsylvania National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors detail conducts a dignified transfer of remains for U.S. Army Cpl. Jackey Dale Blosser on July 30, 2020, at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The Pennsylvania National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors detail conducts a dignified transfer of remains for U.S. Army Cpl. Jackey Dale Blosser on July 30, 2020, at Pittsburgh International Airport. (Photo by Senior Master Sergeant Shawn Monk)

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors detail participated in the repatriation of remains of a U.S. Army Soldier killed in the Korean War.

The remains of Cpl. Jackey Dale Blosser of Randolph County, West Virginia, were returned to family members during a dignified transfer of remains at Pittsburgh International Airport July 30, 2020.

This is just one of the many ways Army National Guard Soldiers serve their community and their fellow Soldiers.

“We were honored to participate in this transfer,” said Christopher Houck, Military Funeral Honors coordinator for Pennsylvania. “Any Soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country deserves the utmost respect, and we were glad to be able to return Corporal Blosser’s remains to his family.”

Blosser, a member of “Dog” Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, went missing in action Dec. 2, 1950, when the enemy attacked his unit near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. American forces did not recover his remains. Blosser was 21 years old at the time.

Following a June 2018 summit, representatives of North Korea transferred 55 boxes of remains to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in August 2018.

One of the boxes contained remains reportedly recovered by the North Korean People’s Army in the vicinity of Blosser’s last known location. Following DNA testing at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the remains were identified as Blosser’s.

With the Army National Guard, Soldiers serve part-time close to home. With positions in more than 130 career fields, so you can serve your community in a way that’s right for you. Opportunities include supply and logistics, admin and relations, transport, and more. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more. 

From an original article by Brad Rhen, Pennsylvania National Guard, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in August 2020.

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