Soldiers GT improves FAST

Photos and story by Spc. Lisa A. Cope
13th SC(E) public affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The Blackjack Education Center continuously offers a three week fundamental academic skills training class to all service members stationed here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, to help them raise their general technical score on the armed services vocational aptitude battery.

Iris S. Hollis, the education services officer at the center, said FAST classes are available at no cost to Soldiers and cover reading, mathematics, language and computer skills.

“Specifically, the FAST program aims to improve job performance, prepare Soldiers for more advanced schooling, increase re-enlistment options and enhance (Soldier) trainability,” said Hollis.

The program uses pre and post diagnostic testing to gauge students’ progress, she said.

FAST is comprised of 42 lesson books that break down the test, said Thomas M. Sasko, local program manager for the center.

The diagnostic test given at the beginning of the program identifies students’ problem areas and shows which lesson books will help the student improve, said Sasko.

Second Lt. Jess B. Henry, the component repair platoon leader for the 514th Support Maintenance Company and an instructor for the FAST course, said a couple of his Soldiers wanted to go through the FAST course, but the wait to get into a class was roughly 45 days at the time.

“I called them up and asked what it took to be an instructor here, so we could get one more class and get our Soldiers through,” said Henry.

The bench marks of the program are determined by the individual because the Soldiers come into the class with a good idea of their goals, said Henry.

Having a high GT score – above 110 – can open doors for Soldiers, allowing them to commission through Officer Candidate School, or re-enlist with better terms, to name a few.

The next FAST class begins Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 24. Applications are available at the Blackjack Education Center.

 

news photo
Pfc. Carlos J. Cano, a wheeled-vehicle mechanic for the 514th Support Maintenance Company and Cpl. Carolina Serrano, the non-commissioned officer in charge of commercial vendor services for the 125th Finance Management Company, help each other during the independent study portion of the fundamental academic skills training class Aug. 25 at the Blackjack Education Center here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)

 

news photo
Second Lt. Jess B. Henry, component repair platoon leader for the 514th Support Maintenance Company and instructor for the fundamental academic skills training class, assists Spc. Jared M. Edmond, an Avenger crewmember for the 33rd Air Defense Artillery, with a word problem during the FAST class Aug. 25 at the Blackjack Education Center here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)

news photo
Second Lt. Jess B. Henry, component repair platoon leader for the 514th Support Maintenance Company and instructor for the fundamental academic skills training class, assists Spc. Jared M. Edmond, an Avenger crewmember for the 33rd Air Defense Artillery, with a word problem during the FAST class Aug. 25 at the Blackjack Education Center here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)

news photo
Sgt. Tyler E. Sowder, fire control systems repairer for the 699th Maintenance Company, concentrates on a word problem during an independent study in the fundamental academic skills training class Aug. 25 at the Blackjack Education Center here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lisa A. Cope)