Army Reserve practice driving tanks around Bluefield, WV - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Army Reserve practice driving tanks around Bluefield, WV

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BLUEFIELD, WV (WVVA) Whether it is armed or not, seeing a military vehicle driving around near your home may be a bit frightening. But it is for a good reason. The Army Reserve has been spending all week completing a mandatory training to teach soldiers from many states how to drive the M11-17 Armor Security Vehicles. But these vehicles aren't just for combat, they serve a larger purpose for the area too.

For soldier Jorge Zarate, driving a tank like an M11-17 isn't all fun and games. It's a necessity.

"we came down here to train on these lovely vehicles called the ASV's and you know we want to be able to train others in our unit so that's why we're here," says Zarate.

But Zarate says learning to control the vehicles has been enjoyable.

"It's been pretty fantastic. I love these vehicles. They ride pretty smooth,” says Zarate. “That's surprising for how big they are."

In the last few days many soldiers from the Army Reserve have been training to drive the Armor Security Vehicles, but Master Sergeant Larry Gray says they aren't just made for combat.

"Not only do we use this for base defense and convoy security, but per say the national guard could use it for national emergencies such as flooding or tornadoes type of event," says Master Sergeant Gray.

Which is why these soldiers from all over the country came here to learn.

"It's to teach all the soldiers how to drive them in case of emergencies and they're needed to assist the community.”

Master sergeant gray says that in an area with mountains like Bluefield, these vehicles can serve in a number of way.

"You can actually recover other vehicles with this because it has a wrenching mechanism,” says Master Sergeant Gray. “You can pull trees out with it from the road. The capabilities are endless with it you can do whatever you want to do with this truck."

Master Sergeant Gray says that currently Mercer County has a few of these vehicles, but after soldiers in the area are trained the county will have up to fifteen at their disposal to help the community.

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