Air Force looking to give Airman truckers easier path to civilian CDL

| February 17, 2017

The U.S. Air Force is looking to launch a training program that will be equivalent to civilian CDL training so truckers in the Air Force can more easily transition out of the service and into trucking.

The United States Air Force announced earlier this month it is creating a program that will allow military truck drivers to essentially swap their military license for a commercial driver’s license when they exit the service without extra training.

To do this, the Air Force is creating a course to mirror the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) CDL Test program, which will enable examiners to certify Air Force truckers on the same regulations as a civilian obtaining a CDL.

“This (will) ensure everyone is working off the same sheet of music,” says Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Karnes, the Air Force logistics vehicle operations superintendent. “Once the program is wholly accepted and recognized by each state’s DMV, the intent is to provide a one-for-one swap for a military license to obtain a CDL for the applicable vehicle, without taking the additional tests. This helps us transition veterans into the commercial sector as well.”

The program will begin at seven bases with the hopes of expanding up to 50 bases by October, Karnes adds. Air Force examiners will be required to participate in a 40-hour AAMVA certification course to learn how to administer and score the exam until the Air Force creates its own course.

“This new program gives us a standardized method in deciding whether or not a member is actually competent enough to operate these vehicles on their own,” says Staff Sgt. Bradley Opfar, the officer in charge of training validations and operations at Kadena AB, and a recent AAMVA course graduate.

Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, voiced her support for making it easier for military members transitioning out of the service to get civilian jobs, specifically truck driving jobs. More on Warren’s comments can be seen here.

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