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Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. Publishers
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The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations

Drive the Guard: Trucking Industry Looking for a Few Good Men – and Women

Soldiers are coming home soon and it just so happens that the trucking industry is looking for a few good men — and women — to hire as drivers.

On June 23rd 2011 President Barack Obama announced that the United States will withdraw 10,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 20,000 by next summer. Several of these soldiers will be looking at civilian career opportunities. At the same time, the trucking industry is feeling the driver shortage crunch. The US Army National Guard’s Drive the Guard program can help both the trucking industry and soldiers exploring career options.

There are several ways to receive financial assistance for attending a truck driver training program such as: student loans, scholarships, WorkSource agency grants and Rehabilitation Agency Grants. Active Duty Military and Veterans have a couple of other options as well such as the post -9/11 GI Bill, Veterans Administration grants and now the Drive the Guard Program. Each of these sources has strict qualifications for approval.

The Drive the Guard program puts soldiers behind the wheel while still in uniform. It gives Army Guard members the opportunity to attend an approved truck driver training school within the soldiers’ states. Graduates receive a Commercial Driver’s License and guaranteed employment. The program is open to those currently serving but it’s also offered as an enlistment option. Program applicants must have a valid driver’s license, be a US citizen and pass a physical exam, among other qualification requirements. They must also complete basic and advanced individual training prior to attending truck driving school.

Schools interesting in participating in The Drive the Guard program should visit the Commercial Driver Training Foundation website at: http://www.cdtfi.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=28. Also, for more information, visit the National Guard Website at http://www.ng.mil/news/archives/2009/12/120209-Drive.aspx

(Photo: A soldier from Forward Support Company, 203rd Engineer Battalion of the Missouri Army National Guard prepares for a convoy mission at a forward base in eastern Afghanistan in November. Photo by Sgt. Jon E. Dougherty, Missouri National Guard)