A new Marine training course aims to break old habits – DNyuz

A new Marine training course aims to break old habits

Old habits die hard. So after two rollovers caused by Marines driving the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle like the old Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the Corps created a new training unit to break outdated habits and teach better, safer ones.

“I believe it’s that 50 years of experience that we had with the legacy assault amphibian vehicle that created a certain degree of muscle memory that led us to focus more heavily on the similarities between the legacy vehicle and the ACV, than focus on the differences,” Col. Howard Hall, who stood up the Transition Training Unit in February, told reporters on July 28. “So it’s the differences where the TTU had really taken those initial steps and wanted to focus on the differences instead of the similarities on behalf of the institution.”

The TTU developed the Operational Certification course this spring to address some of the shortfalls in how they initially trained for and operated the new ACVs.

Among other problems, the TTU team found that the ACV documents–including technical and training-and-readiness manuals–were being updated weekly, with too many changes to take in.

“I think that consciously or unconsciously, we filled the gap by what is called negative habit transfers from the legacy vehicles,” Hall said. Hall is the chief of staff at the Marine Corps Training and Education Command.

The Marines realized the new operators and maintenance personnel were “the most proficient” in the ACV. However, when they returned to their units they found that “a greater majority had clung to legacy practices, such as those for safe operation, maintenance and operations,” Hall said.

Hall said that the TTU hired experts to design the Operational Certification Course from the ground up, in order to incorporate the latest documents and best practices. The course is designed to train Marines with AAV experience to safely and effectively operate the ACV.

“I’m not aware that this is the largest effort the community of assault amphibians has undertaken to date,” Hall stated. “Again, this blank-slate approach, undeterred by any previous practices, is how we defined what right looks like, and built that into the program.”

The 15-day course is conducted in four phases, starting with a knowledge test and eventually moving into open waters. Students must meet each phase’s requirements before moving on, Hall said.

On July 25, the Operational Certification course graduated 29 ACV operators, making a total of 59, said a Marine Corps press release. Another 30 Marines have graduated from the TTU’s five-day maintainers certification course.

The TTU program has also passed lessons to parent units to help them prepare Marines for the courses, Hall said: “There are a number of skills that can be and should be practiced before those Marines come through a TTU evaluation certification.”

The OPCERT course is being held every five to six weeks. The Marine Corps says it will take until next fall to certify the remaining 240 to 250 operators and about 50 maintainers.

The TTU’s work is available for students in the Assault Amphibian School, as well as to those who receive training at the time the ACV first enters their unit. This standardization of training across different paths is a priority, according to Lt. Colonel Frederick Monday, the TTU supervisor.

The article A Marine Training Course aims at breaking old habits first appeared on DefenseOne .