SJAFB takes wheel on new AF process

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

The Air Force selected Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to test and evaluate a new certification program to turn government vehicle operator certifications into commercial driver’s licenses.

The new process, slated to start October 2017, will allow Airmen who are certified to operate government vehicles to receive civilian certification without further training.

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Mayo, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of training validation and operations, said the Air Force chose Seymour Johnson AFB as one of seven test sites because the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles helped answer questions and resolve issues surrounding the program.

“The plan for implementing the program is to ensure all of the administration, study material, tests and examinations are equivalent to the standards set by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators,” Mayo said. “Once all of the requirements are met, Airmen will be able to go through the new certification program.”

Currently, the certification process only applies to bus and tractor trailer combination vehicles where an Airman receives training from their unit before going to the TVO office and taking a written, vehicle inspection and a road skills test. After completing their examinations, Airmen can get the vehicle added to their motor vehicle operator identification card, but cannot obtain a CDL through the current qualifications.

The process will be conducted by military members who will be qualified as an AAMVA-credentialed certified commercial examiner. These service members will attend the same schools and take the same training as their civilian counterparts to ensure all examiners are properly certified.

“The Air Force will benefit from this program mainly through standardization across the service,” Mayo said. “At this time, all vehicle training is dictated and developed at a local level.”

With the new program, the entire Air Force will be held to a higher standard, Mayo added. It will ensure better training and a higher level of skill and knowledge before Airmen can be certified to drive commercial vehicles.

“This program also provides an opportunity for Airmen to find employment in the civilian sector after separation or retirement,” said Mayo. “Veterans will find it easier to get a job they already know without having to go through any extra processes or schools.”

The new program is a vital step towards creating a more unified Air Force where all Airman can be uniformly trained to the highest degree and be ready for life after their military career.