MRAP Certified

RG-31 MRAP overlooking Kabul.

For the past two days I have been in class learning about all the gauges, knobs, and devices on various MRAP models.  So now I am certified on all 3 of the MRAPs to include the Max Pro, Cougar, and RG-31 models.  The only one I haven’t trained on is the new MATV.  But the best part of the training was that it was conducted locally.  We

Snow covering barren land.

did not have to go to BAF for our training.  The contractors normally conduct the MRAP classes at BAF.  Somehow our ETT leader with his power of persuasion convinced them to visit our camp and train our team members.  So now instead of the Air Force being the only ones trained on MRAPs, our Army brothers can

Snow covered peaks near camp.

experience the joy of being behind the wheel.  Before long, I might work myself out of a job since they recently qualified on the crew serve weapons too.

The first part of the course instruction was “Slow Death by PowerPoint”, but since we already went through the torturous 40 hour course on another model MRAP, we were given the condensed and abbreviated 14 hour course.  Despite driving them several hundred miles in the past few months, I was still able to learn something new.  I was totally unaware of a water plug in the back of my vehicle.  When the instructor released the plug, a torrent of water poured out.  So now I wonder without my ballast how my vehicle will ride…lol.

Darulaman Palace with city of Kabul in background.

We also were required to demonstrate our driving abilities too.  This was the fun part of the course and we drove up to the former Russian Officer’s club as part of the curriculum.  This road is not for the faint of heart with the steep incline and drop offs.  There are still old Soviet vehicle carcasses at the bottom rusting away.  I can only assume, they failed to

Tajbeg Palace with city of Kabul in background.

negotiate the hairpin turns or lost control of their vehicle.

At the top of the hill, we had a great birds-eye view of the surrounding city and the two palaces that were destroyed during the civil conflict here.  Also notice the snow is starting to cover the crest and encroach on lower elevations.  Personally I like the snow because it gives new

My haven't you grown!

color to the drab brown craggy ridges.  While there, I ran into a familiar friend.  The last time I saw this dog, it was still a young puppy with short hair and chewing on my boots.  Since then he has grown a thick fur coat to ward off the cold.  He is still rather timid, except for when he is around the ANA soldiers.  This is rather unusual because most ANA soldiers and Afghans do not like dogs.  But this dog seems to be an exception.  The soldiers play with the dog and he seems to reciprocate by being a good guard dog and barking when strangers approach.  He also appears to be quite healthy, so it’s apparent they are feeding him.

We returned to camp and parked the

"Nameless"

MRAPs.  Since we didn’t attend their 40-hour course, we don’t get the fancy certificate that normally accompanies the course completion.  Instead, it’s just another addition placed on our military driving license.

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