FORT JACKSON, S.C. – For more than two decades, Soldiers learned how to recover Army vehicles from the sand and mud at Fort Jackson. That era came to an end recently as the last class graduated from the 187th Ordnance Battalion’s Vehicle Recovery Course.
The course, which has been taught in the sandy soil here since 1987, moved to Fort Lee.
“There are a lot of mixed emotions for us,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cleveland Witherspoon Jr. “This course has been here for so many years. There is so much history.”
Even so, Witherspoon said he understands why the course was moved to Fort Lee where it will be consolidated with an existing course.
“They are planning for the future and putting everyone under one umbrella,” he said of Fort Lee leaders. “They have better facilities and Soldiers will get state-of-the-art classrooms and equipment.”
The two-week course, which is an additional skill identifier for wheeled vehicle mechanics, teaches all aspects of recovering disabled, overturned, mired and nosed vehicles. Recovery training was once part of the former 63B and 63S Advanced Individual Training courses. In 1992, however, TRADOC eliminated recovery training from the curriculum. Since then, vehicle recovery has been designated as an ASI available to selected Soldiers in what is now the 91series MOS.
During the past two years, instructors have trained 962 Soldiers. Selection for the ASI H8 Recovery Course is based on academic average, soldierization, physical fitness, discipline and motivation.
The course was capped with an exercise in the mire pit – a water and mud filled pit – from which Soldiers must retrieve a stuck M-1084 cargo truck.
The course is a favorite for Fort Jackson visitors looking to observe training. It was also featured on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs 100th episode in which host Mike Rowe got down and dirty with Soldiers attempting to recover a cargo truck from the mire pit and rescue a Humvee from the deep sand.
The Wheeled Recovery Course recently began training at its new facility at Fort Lee on the Ordnance Campus.