Over the summer I received the opportunity to attend Air Assault School at the Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. Zachary Kleiner from Clemson was in my class, as well as Lt. Wes Cooler, a Clemson alumnus. We were able to link up and stay together for most of the course. I bunked with a Captain who branched Armor and is now working with Cadet Command. I was able to learn many things from talking to officers about my future career.
Phase I consisted of many hours in the classroom. I now feel much more knowledgeable about rotary winged aircraft and have a solid base of understanding about dealing with them. Phase II had much less classroom time and much more hands on time dealing with sling loads. It is a very simple task to ensure that everything is secured and attached properly, however, it is easy to overlook seemingly obvious things, especially when being timed. The key was to focus only on your sequence of inspecting and not think about anything else, especially time. The phrase, “Touch what you see, see what you touch” was engrained into each of us. While Phase II taught us how to inspect sling loads, in a larger sense it taught attention to detail.
Phase III consisted of rappelling. I had never rappelled before, but it was easy to learn. We completed five rappels before our three graded rappels from the tower. The day before graduation, we rappelled from a UH – 60 Blackhawk. This was really awesome.
The morning of graduation we completed a 12-mile road march. Just a few hours prior we had all packed our rucks, unpacked and repacked, unpacked and repacked again to make sure we had everything on the packing list. At the 6 – mile turn around point we received our Air Assault wings. No one had a problem keeping up with the turn around item. Finally, after the layout, we knew we had made it to graduation.
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