First women Multiple Launch Rocket System crew members graduate
By Renee' M. Walker,
Bayonet & Saber
FORT BENNING, Ga. - I was excited when I learned I was selected to become the first female instructor for the U.S. Army Ordnance School's 91M, Bradley Systems Maintainer course. The Army has provided me with many challenging assignments that provided growth and professional development opportunities. This assignment offered me a unique chance to be a part of a team that is shaping the Army's future.
When I arrived at Fort Benning's Bradley Training Division, which is part of 3rd Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, the instructors welcomed me as one of their own. My fellow noncommissioned officers readily assisted me in preparing for the most important job in the Army - training ordnance Soldiers. The technical certification was tough and very challenging but many years of ordnance experience had fully prepared me to be successful.
I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to teach, train and mentor our future Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainers.
One of the highlights of my career, so far, is being able to contribute to the successful integration of females into this career field. The Ordnance Corps is leading the way and helping ensure our Army's future strength, because the strength of our Army has always been its people. I'm proud to play a small role in this historical transition. I have a strong passion for teaching and mentoring these young Warriors, as they transition into Army Strong Soldiers - men and women who are physically and mentally ready to serve as a BFV System Maintainer.
The Advanced Individual Training for 91M Soldiers lasts for 12 weeks and four days. The common core training is conducted in the first two weeks. We teach students how to read technical manuals, utilize maintenance support forms, the Army Oil Analysis Program, safety, basic electronics, reading schematics and all the other knowledge skills they will need to be successful in the course. The remainder of the course teaches students how to troubleshoot, remove and install components, perform Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services and all of the other technical aspects of their job.
The course becomes progressively more difficult throughout the training, culminating in a Sustainment Warrior's Field Training Exercise. The exercise provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and expertise in a simulated tactical environment. The training provides Soldiers with a broad technical skills base so they can immediately contribute to maintaining unit equipment readiness once they arrive at their duty stations.
Women have been serving in other ordnance Military Occupational Specialties, performing these same tasks and I am so thankful for the opportunities that are available to all of us now.
As an instructor, I think the most important part of my job is to empower all of our young Soldiers to develop as professionals. The training is very rigorous and challenging, with the bar set very high. Training to standard is our motto, our creed; the means to reach a professional stature is our goal. It is so important that we get it right at the school, because we set the stage for everything that follows in the career of a 91M Soldier.
It is an honor to be the first female 91M instructor, yet I serve everyday with the realization that I will not be the last. My goal is to be highly successful in shaping and developing future leaders in this field. I am excited and look forward to the many challenges that this unique opportunity will provide in helping shape the future of our Army.
(The U.S. Army Ordnance School is part of the Combined Arms Support Command, a major subordinate organization of the Training and Doctrine Command.)