35-Year Leap in Equipment Technology Creates Training Challenge for U.S. Army

Over the last five years, the U.S. Army looked to Caterpillar to replace their 30- to 35-year-old fleet of earthmoving equipment, including dozers, wheel loaders, motor graders and wheel tractor scrapers. While the 35-year leap in technology meant the Army was receiving highly productive equipment, it also meant Army technicians would need extensive training.

Before they took delivery of their new equipment, various Army units and training commands met with personnel from Caterpillar Defense & Federal Products to ensure complete understanding of their training needs and policies. To further validate their needs, chief warrant officers who were embedded within Caterpillar for year-long assignments provided additional input.

Once Caterpillar understood the unique needs and challenges of the U.S. Army, they were able to develop an innovative strategy. That strategy consisted of:

  •       Training on new systems. A portfolio of training options was developed that could be conducted in the field and included basic and advanced classes. This training was accomplished in less than a year.
  •       Consulting and training gap analysis. Caterpillar defined and documented the needs of the entire training program throughout all branches of the military.
  •       Training aids. These included engines on stands and cutaways (machine components with sections or covers removed to reveal working parts inside) and a new offering called the Diagnostic Start Cart. The Cat Diagnostic Start Cart (patent pending) helps guide mechanics through the testing and troubleshooting process with Cat® engines.

“The new Cat training aids help to prepare our warfighters with the proper technical skills to diagnose and repair complex equipment across our fleet,” says Jason Gozikowski, a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army. “These tools also help modernize the ‘school house’ by creating a real time maintenance environment that is equal to what they will see across the Army.”   

Engines at Cat® dealer Altorfer in East Peoria, Illinois before shipment to the U.S. Army in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

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