A Motor Transport Operator 88M plays a crucial role in the U.S. Army’s transportation and logistics unit. From heavy-duty trucks to all-terrain vehicles, motor transport operators are responsible for operating a wide range of vehicles in a variety of conditions.
The Army owns and operates more than 50,000 vehicles, including semi-tractor trailers, water/fuel tanks, passenger buses troop transports and heavy equipment transports. An 88M will operate any and all of these vehicles in a diverse range of situations.
What is 88M in the Army?
In the Army, 88M, or 88 Mike, is a truck driver that’s responsible for operating heavy-duty military equipment and vehicles. Military vehicles can weigh upwards of 100,000 lbs. and can be incredibly difficult to steer. It can take months or years to learn how to drive these vehicles and equipment safely from one destination to the next.
An 88M can face a wide range of dangerous and difficult driving conditions on a regular basis. They may drive through sandstorms or have to navigate their way through combat zones while dodging IEDs.
To succeed in this position, you have to be fearless and work well under pressure.
An 88M is considered a military operational specialty, or MOS.
- Operate vehicles and equipment over terrain and roads.
- Utilize convoy defense techniques.
- Identify/correct/report vehicle deficiencies.
- Prepare vehicles for movement or shipment via ship, airplane or railway.
- Manage cargo and personnel being transported.
- Oversee the loading and unloading of cargo.
Drivers will be expected to operate vehicles on all types of terrain and weather, including black-out conditions. A variety of navigation tools will be used, including topographical, strip and road maps.
It’s important to note that an 88M position is not without its risks. Drivers are expected to operate vehicles in potentially dangerous and unsecured areas. This MOS will require drivers to know:
- Accident recovery procedures
- Fire procedures
- How to assist with defense planning and convoy operation security
- How to operate vehicle-mounted weapons when necessary
- International road signs
- Basic vehicle maintenance
- Procedures for safety checks
- The proper use of maintenance, accident forms and operator records
- How to transport hazardous materials
MOS 88M soldiers who stay in the Army can advance up the ranks at the same rate as supporting MOS soldiers. A sergeant may work as a senior driver with his/her own truck and oversee one or two other vehicles. A Sergeant First Class may work as an administrative supervisor or serve as a Brigade Motor Sergeant.
Many choose to stay in the Army throughout the entirety of their careers.
U.S. Army 88M MOS Job Requirements
In order to qualify for a MOS 88M position, you must achieve a score of at least 85 in the operators and food (OF) area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. You must also have a valid driver’s license and be free of colorblindness.
The ASVAB is a test you have to take to enlist in the U.S. Military. You cannot enlist without first taking this exam. Its purpose is to first determine whether you have the mental aptitude to serve and second to determine which military jobs you are best suited for.
You won’t need Department of Defense security clearance for this position, and the U.S. Army will provide all of the training that you need to succeed.
- 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training
- 7 weeks of Advanced Individual Training
The training is a mix of classroom and simulation, but more than 200 training hours will be spent in vehicles and in field training.
While training is provided, it’s helpful to have an interest in driving and mechanics as well as experience in driver education.
Army Truck Driver Pay
According to Indeed.com, Army truck drivers earn, on average, $40,355/year.
While that may seem lower than the national average for truck driving, it’s important to remember that this position comes with valuable benefits in addition to your base salary.
Army truck drivers can enlist under certain Military Occupational Specialties and earn up to $40,000 in bonuses.
Compensation for this position also includes:
- Vacation time
- Special pay
There are educational benefits as well. Qualified students can earn scholarships, full-tuition, allowances for supplies and a stipend for living expenses.
Civilian Employment After Military Service
88M jobs may provide opportunity for civilian employment after the Army through the Army PaYS program. This recruitment program guarantees a job interview with employers that are looking for experienced, trained Veterans.
Some of the companies that work with the PaYS program include:
- D.M. Bowman, Inc.
- Rush Enterprises
- Liquid Transport Corp
- Ruan Transportation Mgt. Sys. Inc.
- Sentinel Transportation, LLC
- Transport Corporation of America, Inc.
- J.B. Hunt Transportation, Inc.
- Nationwide Truck Brokers, Inc.
- Total Quality Logistics, LLC
- TMC Transportation, Inc.
Even without the PaYS program, working as an 88M will provide you with valuable experience and skills that you can use to land a well-paying job as a civilian. Along with truck driving, you may also enter a career as a cargo inspector, freight inspector or transportation manager.
While serving in the Army, 88M drivers can earn CDL endorsements and gain skills in logistics as well as good vehicle handling.
Serving as an 88M won’t earn you a civilian Class A CDL, but many states have implemented a “troops to truckers” program that allows soldiers leaving the Army skip the skills test and head straight to the written test to earn their Class A CDL. To qualify, soldiers need a signature from their commanders.
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