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Army Air Force

Mobile Support Equipment Operator

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Mobile Support Equipment Operators operate military vehicles ranging in size from standard automobiles to snow removal equipment and all-terrain vehicles.

The primary responsibilities of the Mobile Support Equipment Operator are to:

  • Operate buses, automobiles, trucks and tractor-trailers
  • Operate specialized mobile equipment such as fuelling tankers, snowplows, tractors and all-terrain vehicles
  • Receive, load, secure and unload materiel and equipment transported by road
  • Provide transportation support for combat and field operations
  • Maintain equipment in serviceable condition by cleaning, inspecting and correcting minor faults
  • Prepare dispatch schedules and coordinate user requirements for vehicles and equipment
  • Prepare and maintain job-related forms, records and reports

Work environment

Mobile Support Equipment Operators encounter a variety of employment and environmental conditions as they are required to operate a broad range of mobile support equipment. Conditions may vary from working indoors on bases to working outdoors, especially during field operations and while on missions abroad.

Career Overview

Transcript

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Mobile Support Equipment Operator

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: I’m Corporal Jacques Ethier Masson from Pembroke, Ontario. I’m a Mobile Support Equipment Operator currently stationed here at 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario.

From road graders to troop buses, from field ambulances to dump trucks, Mobile Support Equipment Operators, or MSE Ops, keep the big wheels turning. 

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: The Canadian Forces would be the ultimate playground because you get to drive and operate every different type of equipment out there – from just a little side-by-side or an ATV all the way up to a tractor-trailer or a cruiser bus, and then all heavy equipment as well: loader, grader, excavator, bulldozer – all that. 

They drive fuelling tankers for Canada’s F-18s and the snow plows that keep the runways clear for combat and cargo operations. They haul food, construction supplies and ammunition, and deliver the daily mail to the troops on deployment.

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: On a day-to-day basis, it’s pretty fun because you never know what you’re going to be doing. If it’s got wheels or it drives, you’re definitely driving it.

They’re responsible for cleaning and inspecting their vehicles and correcting any minor faults that arise.

MSE Ops also prepare dispatch schedules and coordinate user requirements for vehicles and equipment at their unit and take care of loading, securing and unloading material and equipment transported by road.  

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: We do tractor-trailer runs to various parts all over North America. If the troops got it, truckers hauled it.

On operations, MSE Ops are responsible for protecting their own convoys and their own vehicles from anything the enemy might throw their way. They have specialized military driving skills, including battlefield mapping, camouflage, and tactical driving. And there are pathways that lead to some really incredible jobs like a course in basic and advanced evasive driving.

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: The unpredictability of being able to do a variety of different things from day to day, instead of just doing the same task over and over again – I get to deploy to the field, getting dressed up in cam paint, going to roll around in the mud, and then the next day, I could be cleaned up and driving VIP people to their destinations. As an MSE Op, one day you could be working with the infantry, delivering ammunition to the front lines; next day, refuelling aircraft with the Air Force; next day, working with the Navy delivering supplies before they set sail for deployment – pretty cool how we get to work with every different element within the Canadian Forces. 

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: I really look forward to doing refuelling operations. I love refuelling the Chinook – especially a hot refuel while the blades are turning and the helicopter’s running. And I love doing the tractor-trailer long hauls.

On completion of their military and trade-specific training, MSE Ops get posted to an Army, Navy or Air Force base in Canada. Depending on where they’re stationed, MSE Ops will have the opportunity to earn their driver qualifications on a wide range of vehicles. 

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: If you go to a field unit, you’ll start off with the smaller vehicles, and if you go to an Air Force base, you’ll start off very slow and then you’ll work your way up from there. You’ll be able to do snow and ice control on the runways, or if you’re at an Army base, that’s when you move up to tractor-trailer and the 32,000K forklift and cruiser bus.

CORPORAL JACQUES ETHIER MASSON: Every morning, whenever I wake up, I look forward to coming in and seeing everyone that I work with, and then getting on with tractor-trailer tasks. My most memorable experience as an MSE Op was my drive to Goose Bay, Labrador – we went through northern Quebec in March. We drove from gravel muddy roads, fully ice-covered roads, back into snowstorm. That trip took 6 days and it was definitely one of the most fun runs that I’ve had. You don’t become an MSE Op and not like to drive.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Bus Driver
  • Snow Removal Equipment Operator
  • Dispatcher, Motor Vehicles
  • Chauffeur
  • Truck Driver

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army Physical Fitness
  • Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
  • Reconnaissance Patrolling
  • Individual Field Craft

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Mobile Support Equipment Operators attend training in Borden, Ontario, for approximately 87 days of training in the following areas:

  • Operation of both standard and automatic shift vehicles including Standard Military Pattern vehicles
  • Field operations, camouflage, re-supply techniques
  • Tactical/Administrative Road moves
  • Operation of vehicle systems and components
  • Vehicle recovery
  • Use of military maps
  • Basic knowledge of Air Field Operations
  • Dangerous Goods
  • Dangerous Goods Instructor

Mobile Support Equipment Operators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Safety Supervisor
  • Evasive Anti-terrorist Driver
  • Evasive Anti-terrorist Driver Instructor
  • Tractor-trailer Instructor
  • Bus Instructor
  • Instructional Techniques
  • Air Brake Systems Instructor
  • Master Driver

As they progress in their career, Mobile Support Equipment Operators who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Dispatcher
  • Section Commander training
  • Middle management
  • Fleet management

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Mobile Support Equipment Operators may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to operate military vehicles supporting Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Mobile Support Equipment Operators requires about 70 days and is conducted at Canadian Forces Logistics Training Centre in Borden, Ontario.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.