BY SGT. DANIEL SCHROEDER – WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – For anyone who has heard stories of the Air Assault School or Course, two words can be heard more than anything else during the time spent attending, “Air Assault!”
Recently, Soldiers from all over the Pacific region were able to attend the Air Assault Course at the East Range Training Complex on Schofield Barracks taught by B Company, Air Assault Mobile Training Team from Fort Benning, Ga.
“It was a great course,” said Spc. Richard Earl, a petroleum supply specialist assigned to E Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Regiment, “Hammerhead,” 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB). “I thought it was going to be tough, but I did not expect it to be this hard.”
The Air Assault Course is comprised of Day Zero and three phases. On Day Zero, the participants conduct an inventory of equipment, navigate through the obstacle course, conduct a physical fitness test and receive extra fitness throughout the day.
Phase One covers the different airframes of the Army and safety in all aspects of the course and tasks to be performed. “Phase One was the technical part of the course, but still important for what the class encompasses,” said Earl.
Phase Two begins the hands-on part of the training. The Soldiers are tested on the various sling loads used by Army aircraft. Also during Phase Two, the Soldiers are tested on proper hand and arm signals for ground guiding aircraft and proper hook-up procedures.
“Phase Two was my next big obstacle to overcome, mainly the exam,” said Staff Sgt. Cain Hennings, Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB), 25th CAB. “The class is hard. The class started at about 300 Soldiers, now we are down close to 210 people.”
“The Phase Two exam is composed of inspecting various sling loads and hand and arm signals for ground guiding aircraft,” said Sgt. Kyle Lewis, Phase Two senior instructor, B Company, Mobile Training Team Air Assault Course, Fort Benning, Ga. “Phase Two is the phase where the students will learn the most for use after this course.”
Upon completion of Phase Two, the Soldiers move right into Phase Three which begins the rappelling instruction block. During Phase Three, the class is required to successfully tie a Swiss seat, hook in properly, and complete four different rappels for the duration of the phase.
Upon successful completion of Phase Three, the students then have one more obstacle to tackle, the 12 mile ruck march.
“The only thing that could prepare you for the 12 mile ruck march, is by going out and doing it in your spare time,” said Earl.
The 25th CAB enrolled 238 Soldiers in the two Air Assault classes held on the East Range Training Complex. Of the 238 who attended, only 176 Soldiers graduated from the course.
“It was a great opportunity to come out here and teach this class to Soldiers and Airmen who would have had to travel long distances for this course,” said Lewis. “The students did great with the training, willing to learn and pushed to excel.”
Story by and Photos by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder, Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs