When members of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 90th Regional Readiness Command build roads around the world, in countries such as Iraq, some of the asphalt crews will be using the skills they learned at TEEX.
Nineteen members of the U.S. Army Reserves completed the TEEX 32-hour asphalt distributor operations course conducted by the Engineering, Utilities and Public Works Training Institute (EUPWTI) last November. The students were from the 277th Asphalt Company in San Antonio, the 420th Engineer Brigade in Bryan, the 820th Signal Company in Mesquite and the 980th Engineer Battalion in Austin.
The units, which were recently mobilized, attended the training in preparation for possible deployment.
“This course ties into what we do as an asphalt platoon,” said Staff Sgt. Joe Acevedo, a veteran of the Kosovo Campaign. “In Kosovo, we set up the main supply routes and the air field, which involved paving and repaving.”
Acevedo said it is important for the soldiers to have training on the equipment they will be using. Many of the soldiers brought their equipment with them to the training course at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus.
“I drove our asphalt truck from San Antonio, and I didn’t know much about it,” said Pfc. Josh Nolan, who serves as a general equipment operator for the 277th Asphalt Company. “We were able to practice on our equipment. I’ve learned how to operate the asphalt distributor, and now I know what all the levers do.”
Along with learning to operate modern asphalt paving equipment, instructors Randy Plaag and Bob Crawford also provided training on older equipment.
“When soldiers go overseas, they could be working on equipment dating from the Vietnam War or the Korean War,” said James Holt of EUPWTI, who coordinated the class. “When you are deployed, you have to hit the road running—you don’t have time to stop and retrain on a different piece of equipment. We made sure the students got hands-on experience on both old and new equipment.”
“The class has been real beneficial,” Acevedo said. “Now I can train people back at the unit who weren’t able to attend the course. I didn’t think we’d get the hands-on training, and it was really good. We’ve learned some tricks of the trade. And we were real lucky to have instructors like Bob Crawford, who came out of retirement to teach the class.”
TEEX’s reputation for hands-on, customized training is spreading, Holt said. “There isn’t anywhere else in Texas for these soldiers to get this kind of training. That’s why they come to TEEX.”