SALINA — The soldiers were waist-deep in muddy water, but they didn’t mind. It was better than spending hours in a windowless classroom.
Sometimes training can involve tedious slideshows and instruction, but when it comes to vehicle recovery operations, the best way to learn is by getting dirty. It doesn’t hurt when the trainers get in the mud, too.
Soldiers with the 1st Engineer Battalion and 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, recently completed a 10-day vehicle recovery operations course at the Kansas Army National Guard’s Regional Training Site, Salina.
The course taught soldiers how to properly extract vehicles from deep water and mud and how to right equipment overturned in accidents or by explosions. Participants used a variety of winching methods, including under lift, tow and crane operations.
Active-duty Soldiers would typically have to travel to Fort Lee, Va., to complete this course, but the Kansas National Guard recently opened its instructors and facilities to units. The 1st HBCT group was the first all-active class to go through, said Master Sgt. John C. Duerr, chief instructor, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 235th Regiment, Kansas Army National Guard.
Vehicle recovery operations certification is a requirement for higher-level classes like the MRAP Recovery Course, so soldiers from units across the U.S. are now coming to learn from the 235th, Duerr said.
Sending troops to Salina not only means Fort Riley saves money, but the soldiers are closer to home and don’t have to be apart from their Families as much, Duerr said.