DVIDS – News – Michigan regional training site teaches technical skills and enhances leadership potential

AUGUSTA, Mich.—The Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG) continues to build the adequacy and readiness of not only Army National Guard Soldiers, but also the Army Reserve and of the active component. Through the Regional Training Site-Maintenance (RTS-M), 177th Regiment, Regional Training Institute (RTI), located at the Fort Custer Training Center (FCTC), MIANG instructors qualify soldiers from all components of the military in the career fields of vehicle maintenance, while also enhancing the leadership skills instilled by service in the armed forces.

“We offer four courses here at the training center: the Advanced Leadership Course (ALC), the Wheel Mechanics Course, the Vehicle Recovery Course and the Rough Terrain Container Handler Maintenance (RTCH) Course,” said U.S. Army Capt. John Roland, commanding officer of RTS-M, 177th Regt. RTI, Michigan Army National Guard. “We have students representing all components of the military who come here from Italy, Germany and the United States to learn a new professional military skill.”

Wheeled Vehicle Maintainers perform maintenance, repair and recovery operations on Army vehicles that fulfill a variety of mission critical roles, including the RTCH Maintainer skill. The Fort Custer Training Center’s RTS-M is important to the Army’s maintenance program because there are few RTCH courses, making it extremely difficult to get a class due to limited availability.

“We are one of two training centers that teach RTCH and we can teach four students at a time and have ten classes a year,” said Staff Sergeant. Derren Mazza, Chief Instructor and NCO in Charge, RTS-M, RTI. “The other location is an active component school in Fort Lee, Virginia.”

Wheel mechanics is not just about the mechanics of the engine or the chassis of the vehicle. Mechanics must also repair automotive electrical systems, wiring harnesses, and starting and charging systems.

“I have just finished teaching electrical systems and the students are now testing their skills on what they have learned in class,” said Master Sgt. Taya Insixiengmay, Senior Instructor, RTS-M, RTI. “This is a crawl-walk-run phase training, and right now they are in the race phase, learning to diagnose and fix electrical problems in wheeled vehicles.”

With 13 training centers available throughout the Army, Michigan’s RTS-M runs approximately 24 classes throughout a year and averages 396 students per year. The RTS-M has added a unique wheeled vehicle recovery course training that includes land navigation to locate disabled vehicles.

“It gives soldiers a chance to use their critical thinking skills, develop a plan, have the right gear, and use their pre-battle checks and inspections to assemble gear, plan their route, and get out and recover. the vehicle,” says Mazza. “We also teach RTCH to 91B MOS qualified soldiers, who have more training in hydraulics and electronics, troubleshooting, and more time driving the equipment.”

Instructors aren’t just limited to Michigan either. Maintenance instructors are needed throughout the Army, and MIANG soldiers have filled the role of instructors elsewhere.

“We sent a two-instructor mobile training team to Germany to teach 21st Theater Sustainment Command because the demand was so high,” Mazza said. “It helped them qualify to service their equipment, avoid shortages of qualified mechanics and maintain vehicle readiness.”
“We also sent two instructors to Hawaii to teach the ALC and the vehicle recovery course,” Mazza said.

Not everyone starts out as a mechanic. Insixiengmay was able to change his MOS in order to diversify his military career of more than nine years.

“I started as a military policeman and wanted skills that were transferable to the civilian world,” Insixiengmay said. “I’ve been a mechanic for seven years, starting in my unit working on vehicles every weekend of drills. Then, during the annual training, we would change a transmission, broadening our mechanical skills.

Being an instructor can be rewarding as they grow, develop and mentor their students.

“The best time to be an instructor is to bring a student into this course, knowing nothing about mechanics, and seeing them on the last day with the confidence to go home and transfer that knowledge to work on their own vehicles as well,” Insixiengmay said. “It’s a transferable skill, so the things they learn here in the classroom are life skills that will help them throughout their careers.”

Date taken: 25.10.2021
Date posted: 25.10.2021 07:35
Story ID: 407894
Site: AUGUSTA, MI, United States

Web views: 103
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