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    Florida Guardsmen successfully complete Air Assault and Pathfinder courses

    Florida Guardsmen successfully complete Air Assault and Pathfinder courses

    Photo By Maj. Jesse Manzano | Col. Ricardo Roig, 50th Regional Support Group commander, presents a coin to Sgt. 1st...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Jesse Manzano 

    50th Regional Support Group

    Camp Blanding, Fla. - Soldiers from the 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) showcased their grit and expertise during the Army’s Air Assault and Pathfinder qualification courses held at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center (CBJTC). Both courses were open to Soldiers from throughout the Florida National Guard, and nine Guardsmen from the 50th RSG successfully completed them.

    “At first, I was a little nervous based on what I had learned from researching the Air Assault School online,” said Pfc. Brandon Rivas, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 50th RSG’s Headquarter Company. “But I quickly learned that, while there are tough physical standards that we need to meet, the academics are equally tough. You need to be able to pay attention to detail to be successful at Air Assault.”

    The rigorous two-week Air Assault course held at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center (CBJTC) teaches Soldiers how to prepare for insertion, evacuation, and pathfinder missions. The training also focuses on the mastery of rappelling techniques and sling load procedures.

    In addition to Air Assault, CBJTC also hosted a Pathfinder course. The goal of the Pathfinder school is to transform Soldiers into specialists that can navigate their way through foreign terrain and establish safe landing zones for Airborne and Air Assault Soldiers, or Army aircraft.

    “Going to Pathfinder school had been a career goal for me since I first saw the badge,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Lopes, the 927th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion’s Headquarter Company 1st sergeant. “We dealt with sling loads during my last deployment, so it is definitively a useful skill. And even though it was the most challenging school I have been to in my entire military career, I am going to encourage every solider that can go to do so. It was an amazing experience.”

    Since the Florida National Guard started COVID-19 operations in mid-March, both Rivas and Lopes have been activated in support of the state’s COVID-19 response, as part of the 50th RSG.

    Working together with federal, state and local authorities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the 50th RSG and its subordinate units have provided direct and indirect support to more than a dozen CBTS locations, helping administer more than 500,000 sample collections to date in their area of operations, serving as the Florida National Guard's main effort during COVID-19 operations.



    Date Taken: 07.24.2020
    Date Posted: 07.29.2020 16:51
    Story ID: 374839
    Location: CAMP BLANDING, FL, US 

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