SMYRNA, Tenn. - The Massachusetts Army National Guard has been tasked to provide a Heavy Equipment Transport Company in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Soldiers of the 164th Transportation Battalion are learning critical Military Occupational Specialty skills such as 88M, wheeled vehicle operators, for deployment on the M1070 Tractor and M1000 Trailer combined to make the Heavy Equipment Transport System. The HETS is a piece of equipment that was designed to be a prime mover for the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank and other equipment weighing up to 70 tons.
The 117th Regiment Regional Training Institute at the Volunteer Training Site in Smyrna, TN is the location to learn. Staffing and equipment at the school house are provided by the 1175th Transportation Company, Tennessee Army National Guard The instructors have trained soldiers from across the country on the HETS. All students receive instruction on the HETS in preventative maintenance checks and services, driving skills, loading, unloading and most importantly, safety. The student to instructor ratio is three to one with each driving team assigned an assistant instructor, with real world experience utilizing the HETS overseas in a combat environment. For an added measure of safety the assistant instructor remains with the team throughout the course The school house brings the basic skills needed to operate the system coupled with the professionalism, experience and knowledge crucial to preparing a soldier for deployment. Ninety drivers have attended the class at the 117th RTI and all have graduated the course with confidence in the HETS. The Soldiers of the 164th will continue their driving proficiency on this operating system later this year at Camp Edwards, Mass., in preparation for deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom.