Since the automobile was first developed, trucks have been a crucial part of the logistical capabilities of the modern military. A soldier without bullets, water or food is not effective and could possibly be in mortal danger. It is the job of military truck drivers to get weapons and supplies to fighting forces. In doing so, the drivers face great risk but there is also the great reward of knowing that they are doing their part to complete the mission.
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Military truck drivers operate medium and heavy cargo trucks. These drivers are most prevalent in the Army, Marines and Air Force. They are also knowledgeable in cargo loading procedures, securing loads and basic operator maintenance of wheeled vehicles. Senior military truck drivers may oversee squads of drivers and organise group convoys for moving supplies and equipment through dangerous territory. Military truck drivers also conduct security operations to ensure cargo is not stolen from stationary trucks.
To get into most military truck driver programs, recruits must have a valid driving licence. After basic training, military personnel then attend specialised driving courses that lead to a provisional commercial license, and then an official commercial driver's license. Potential military truck drivers must also have vision correctable to 20/20 and normal colour perception in order to read road signs. An interest in mechanics is also helpful.
Training for military truck drivers varies from service to service. In the Army, new soldiers are assigned to the 58th Transportation Battalion at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Here, drivers learn how to operate and repair medium and heavy wheeled trucks. They also learn how to use the communications equipment to communicate with other trucks in a convoy and how to engage enemy forces in case of an ambush.
Military truck drivers may be assigned to a dedicated transportation unit that functions solely for logistical purposes. These units typically move equipment, supplies and personnel on a large scale and may work for many other units. Drivers might also be assigned to a transportation or support unit within a larger combat unit. These drivers would handle the specific transportation needs of their parent units; these needs may include moving tanks for an armour unit.
Serving as a military truck driver can lead to a lucrative career as a truck driver in the civilian sector. Some services, like the National Guard, help their drivers obtain a civilian certification while they serve. These opportunities are very valuable in that they defray the expensive costs of private trucking schools and certifications. The money that drivers save can go towards purchasing their own trucks.
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