Fort Polk Community
Nice driving, mate! British, Australian soldiers learn about driving on right
Story by Patricia Dubiel on 09/20/2019
There can only be one answer: Training!
Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division stepped up to aid their brothers from across the pond (Britain) and across the planet (Australia) in learning how to navigate traffic from a new perspective.
Staff Sgt. Angel Parker, 317th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div, was one of the instructors for the Foreign Nationals Driver Training held at North Fort Polk Sept. 16-20. She said the training was important because the visiting soldiers will be sharing the road with other drivers in the training area, and safety is paramount.
“They will be driving tactical vehicles during the rotation, so they need to have the training and the (temporary) licensure,” she said. “We don’t want any accidents, so we want to make sure they get some good training, both in the classroom and on the road. We’re also going to take them out for night driving with (night vision goggles) on both Humvees and the (light military tactical vehicles).”
Parker said many of the drivers had the military occupational specialty of truck drivers and mechanics in their respective armies, therefore understanding many of the concepts quickly.
“This is just to familiarize them with how to drive our vehicles,” she added.
Pvt. Simon Webster, Australian army, said driving here was “a bit challenging because the rules of the road are different. A couple of times I wanted to change to the other side of the road, but that was the only thing I had to (get over). I’m pretty keen to drive tonight hopefully I’ll do better than today.”
Rifleman Andrew Lang, British army, said he found it strange that the transmissions were automatic instead of stick.
“In the U.K. it’s almost all manual, so that was different. But the wagons are pretty much the same. There are similarities to our Land Rovers,” he said.
Lance Corporal Rhys Overton, also with the British army, said the classroom portion was “quite good,” and thought the differences in how things work here was interesting.
“Our procedures are slightly different, and the way we use the equipment,” he said. “But ultimately, when you are out there using it, it is quite similar to how we do things. We should be good for driving out in the box.”
The two armies will be involved with JRTC training for about the next four weeks.