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Army Air Force

Mobile Support Equipment Operator

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time

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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




MAPP: On the desert battlefield, in heavy snow and on the open road, we’re the men and women who get the Canadian Forces in gear. We’re Mobile Support Equipment Operators, the highly trained soldier-drivers who keep the trucks and trailers rolling.

I’m Private Jarrett Mapp from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m a Mobile Support Equipment Operator currently posted in my hometown of Halifax.

And I’m Master Corporal Tony Kearney from Ottawa, Ontario, Mobile Support Equipment Operator located at CFB Petawawa, CSS training company.


KEARNEY: From road graders to troop buses, from field ambulances to dump trucks, Mobile Support Equipment Operators, or MSE Ops, keep the big wheels turning. We drive fuel tankers for our F-18s and the plows that keep the runways clear for combat and cargo operations. We haul food, construction supplies and ammunition, and deliver the daily mail to our troops on deployment. And we truly love being up in the cab and behind the wheel.

Basically, we are the ones that push the supplies to the forward areas and it gives us great satisfaction to be able to do that, knowing that other soldiers and other personnel can carry on with their job.

MAPP: We transport equipment to troops that are out in the field doing exercises and things like that. We provide water, food, all that.

KEARNEY: Without the bullets and beans, they can’t do their jobs and that’s what we provide.

If this exciting, hands-on trade sounds like it fits your career plans, here’s the path you’ll follow.

MAPP: After basic training, MSE Ops head to Borden, Ontario, for their trade-specific training. At Borden, you’ll learn to drive the vehicles that the Forces rely on across Canada and on deployments overseas.

Plus there are driving skills that are specialized for military operations. I’m talking about battlefield mapping, camouflage, tactical driving and re-supplying our fighters at advanced forward positions. That’s where your soldier training really kicks in.

When we’re driving in a combat area, we’re responsible for protecting our own convoys and our own vehicles from anything that the enemy might throw our way.

KEARNEY: It makes you nervous, but at the same time, we’ve gone through so many drills and had so much training that everything becomes instinctive.

I’ve been deployed to Afghanistan twice supporting our troops over there with everything from artillery shells to packages from home.

I not only took part in convoys, I also ran convoys overseas. I’ve been involved with driving armoured vehicles, as well as providing security within the area.

As a Mobile Support Equipment Operator, you’re in charge of that big piece of equipment. You’ve got your freight or you’ve got your passengers and you’ve got to deliver them safely. That’s a serious responsibility and a real sense of accomplishment when you get the job done.

MAPP: And there are pathways that lead to some really incredible jobs like a course in evasive anti-terrorism driving.

I’ve been in the Forces for only two years, but I’m already qualified to drive staff cars, 15-passenger vans and five-ton trucks. Also dump trucks and front-end loaders, the toys we played with when we were kids.

Growing up, yes, it was Tonka trucks and, you know, now learning the bigger vehicles and things like that, it feels like I’m a kid again. You know, now instead of playing with them, I’m driving them and actually learning how the machine works and stuff and it’s fabulous.

KEARNEY: You can drive and/or operate anything from a small Jeep all the way up to tractor-trailers, excavators, dump trucks, refuellers as well and it was just the whole adventure in that, in being able to actually operate something that made me make that decision.

MAPP: I don’t wanna sit around and just look at the same four walls and do the same thing and I can get out and be involved with the public, I get to see things, I get to travel. I’ve seen so much since I got into the military, I’ve met a lot of great people, my co-workers are fabulous and I’m just having a ball with it.

Related Civilian Occupations

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


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.