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Sgt. Matthew Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade
FORT HOOD, Texas – 05.15.2009
Have you ever wondered who drives many of those black armored cars in the president's motorcade? Or who makes sure that Air Force One is properly loaded?
That's the White House Transportation Agency, and if you're a transportation Soldier, they may have a job for you.
The 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), sponsored a WHTA recruiting brief for 88 series Soldiers at the Backbone Club here, May 12, as part of the agency's ongoing effort to get new recruits.
The WHTA "provides a fleet of motor vehicles, master drivers, and transportation services to the first family, White House staff, and official visitors of the first family in the Washington, D.C. area," according to the agency's mission statement.
The agency's tasks include supporting the presidential motorcade worldwide, providing a command representative and advance teams for Air Force One, staffing the Air Force One backup plane, supporting the first family and their guests among other supportive tasks.
"You're dealing with the people who make this country work," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert L. Robinson, Jr., WHTA recruiter. "Everywhere [the president] goes, we go. Worldwide."
Currently the WHTA is looking for staff sergeants and sergeants first class in Military Occupational Specialty 88M, drivers, with at least eight years time in service, but may soon have jobs available for 88N and 88H as well, said Robinson.
"There's no other experience like it ... they're part of history every day," he said.
Robinson explained that drivers often find themselves carrying legislative bills from the capitol building to the White House, shuttling celebrity guests, and driving with the president's emergency satchel, or the "football," which contains everything necessary for the president to order a nuclear launch if necessary.
"Nowhere else will they have the level of responsibility, professional development, and interagency relations," Robinson said of agency recruits.
Recruits receive special training to carry out their mission such as Light Armored Vehicle Training, Antiterrorism Evasive Driving Course, flight line training, and Protective Services training among others, Robinson said.
Recruits go through the same driver's training as the Secret Service where they learn special maneuvers like spinning 180 degrees or taking a turn at 80 mph, he said.
And some might say that the benefits aren't too shabby either.
"A WHTA tour provides Soldiers with four years of assignment stability, the White House Master Driver identifier G8J, Presidential Service Badge, White House tours for family and friends, Civilian Clothing Allowance for suits as the duty uniform, Special Duty Pay from $75 to $225, and a yearly average of 30 to 60 days of Temporary Duty around the world staying in five star hotels with the president, Master Drivers are even issued three tailored suits," said Sgt. 1st Class Sean Steffensen, WHTA human resources manager.
The recruiting process is very involved and can take up to 18 months Steffensen said, including an invasive Top Secret security clearance screening that investigates the recruit's entire life from birth.
Potential recruits must be US citizens, have good credit and job performance, have no Uniform Code of Military Justice actions, courts-martial, adverse administrative actions, civilian convictions, DUI or DWIs to be considered, although some requirements may be waived on a case-by-case basis, Steffensen said.
Other requirements include the need for a good driving history, and a General Technical score of 110,
Steffensen highly encouraged any 88Ms interested in the position to apply even if they feel they may not meet all of the prerequisites.
For more information on applying for the WHTA contact Sgt. 1st Class Robert L. Robinson, Jr., WHTA recruiter at (202)-757-0754 or email him here.