Connecticut Guardsman attends first-ever Wrecker/Recovery Ops Course
By Master Sgt. David D. Miller, 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron
/ Published October 26, 2012
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Several years ago during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron deployed a young Airman from the 103rd Airlift Wing based at Bradley Air National Guard Base. The young Airman was a vehicle operator with a unique skill-set that only a traditional Guardsman might have--the ability to drive wreckers.
While deployed, the active-duty superin-tendent used the Airman to his full poten-tial to recover vehicles in downtown Bagh-dad. Sometime later, the Air National Guard implemented the Wrecker/Recovery Operations Course at the Combat Readi-ness Training Center (CRTC) in Savannah, Ga. Seeing an important opportunity, Capt. Thomas Olander, 103rd LRS commander, decided to send a volunteer to the course when the skills of the young Airman moved on to the civilian world.
Master Sgt. Rose Shaw of the 103rd LRS traffic management office was that volunteer that attended the first iteration of the course from June 18 to June 21, 2012.
The course, instructed by Tech-nical Sergeants Paul Simpson and Kevin Easterling, consisted of lec-tures, demonstrations and numer-ous hands-on driving scenarios. The trainees had to perform opera-tor's inspections and complete the performance test with zero instruc-tor assistance and with a mini-mum passing score of 80 percent on the written evaluations. This initial training was to ensure the trainee became fully qualified in wrecker operations and was able to operate sev-eral different types of wreckers in a safe, pro-fessional manner.
"The training enabled me to become a trained wrecker and recovery service driver," said Shaw. "Until now, we did not have anyone trained in LRS. When we have our [operational readi-ness exercise and in-spection] we are dis-patched to recover vehi-cles that have become disabled due to chemical contamination, improvised explosive de-vice attacks or the vehi-cle has broken down."
On the first day of the training, Shaw and her team practiced loading a six-passenger pickup truck weighing 6,318 pounds onto the rollback wrecker. They effectively demonstrat-ed how to use the winch to load the vehicle and secure the vehicle to the flatbed of the roll-back. Once this was accomplished, they took the rollback wrecker though the road course.
Over the next couple of days, they used the conventional two-and-a-half ton wrecker and the team practiced loading vehicles with the use of the wheel-lift. The go/no-go task for the conventional wrecker was to secure the vehicle tires to the wheel-lift, ensuring the vehicle would not become loose while towing it. Also, the trainees had to effectively load and unload a Humvee weighing approximately 4,900 pounds and take it through the road course.
According to Shaw, pulling the Humvee out of the ditch was her favorite part and even security forces had to stop by to see if they could use some help getting the Humvee out.
Additionally, Shaw and her team had to demonstrate a Humvee recovery mission. To bring a sense of realism specific to com-bat zones, instructors placed the Humvee in a ditch to simulate a vehicle that had been disabled. Shaw and another student used the winch cables to recover the Humvee in the ditch safely.
"I would recommend this training to anyone who wants hands-on training. We trained all day long and drove a 45-minute course with several vehicles. The experi-ence of our instruction was outstanding and they truly enjoyed teaching the class. There was training for bus, 10k Forklift and tractor trailer driving too," said Shaw.
Shaw passed the 30-hour course with a score of 100 per-cent on both written and road per-formance and showed she is high-ly motivated to achieve a high level of readiness for the mission at hand and is ready for the next deployment. Even better, she can now train other vehicle operators at Bradley.