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    ‘Thunder’ Soldiers partake in air assault course


    Photo By Cpl. Jaewoo Oh | Soldiers listening carefully as an air assault instructor explains rappelling...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Jaewoo Oh 

    210th Field Artillery Brigade

    CAMP CASEY, South Korea - The annual mobile training team for the U.S. Army Air Assault School returned to Camps Casey and Hovey July 20-27 to train and certify Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division and Eighth Army.

    Along with Soldiers from across the peninsula, troops from 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, seized the opportunity to participate in ten days of extensive training physical endurance.

    Candidates began the process with a brigade-level screening prior to enrollment and included the Army Physical Fitness Test, obstacle course and a 12-mile road march. Of the dozens who went through pre-screening, only the brigade’s top 22 Soldiers were selected to attend the course.

    “The air assault course will train Soldiers in three separate phases,” said Sgt. 1st Class Wesley D. Colinger, the course’s noncommissioned officer in charge and a Harlan, Kentucky native.

    The initial phase of the course began with combat assault operations where candidates learned essential air assault skills such as hand-and-arm signals, aircraft safety and aeromedical evacuation operations.

    The second phase covered the important technique of sling-loading. In addition to repelling from helicopters, qualified air assault troops must also be able to properly sling-load, or tether, military equipment and vehicles to rotary-wing assets. This phase guided candidates through the meticulous inspection and preparation process to ensure safe and secure transport from one location to another.

    “Air assault is safe as long as the equipment is inspected and the procedures and kept thoroughly,” said Capt. Ronald Snyder, commander, Company B, Army National Guard Warrior Training Center. “Attention to detail is the most important thing in air assault.”

    The final phase, known as the repel phase, taught Soldiers basic technique and required them to perform multiple rappels from a 50-foot tower. This phase is designed to increase mental strength and help candidates overcome their fear before conducting real-world rappels from a helicopter, said Snyder.

    “Even the most courageous Soldiers can get afraid if they have not gone through with this stage,” he said.

    Snyder and his air assault cadre serve as a mobile training team from the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. The WTC regularly employs mobile training teams to military installation worldwide in order to provide troops an opportunity to earn the Army’s coveted air assault badge.

    Those who completed all phases of the air assault course and the final 12-mile road march were officially awarded their air assault badges during a graduation ceremony at Camp Casey’s Schoonover Bowl. Thirteen Soldiers from the “Thunder Brigade” were among the 176 candidates who successfully accomplished the task.

    “I wanted to join air assault school because it is very motivating,” said Sgt. Christian Powell, an Austin, Texas native and fire support sergeant assigned to 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. “The badge on our uniform, even though it was hard to earn it, will distinguish us from other Soldiers.”

    Korean augmentees to the U.S. Army, commonly referred to as KATUSAs, were also among the brigade Soldiers who earned the U.S. Army skill badge.

    “I have always wanted to be a part of this excellent course and improve my skill sets,” said Cpl. Han-ju Oh, a KATUSA assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th FA Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. “Through this course, I feel like I have become a true Soldier capable to fight for South Korea, the country I love.”



    Date Taken: 07.27.2015
    Date Posted: 08.06.2015 03:02
    Story ID: 172302
    Location: CAMP CASEY, KR 
    Hometown: AUSTIN, TX, US
    Hometown: FORT BENNING, GA, US
    Hometown: HARLAN, KY, US

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    ‘Thunder’ Soldiers partake in air assault course