News: 10 toughest days in the Army comes to Europe
Story by Staff Sgt. Charles Crail
CAMP ROBERTSON, Germany--With a thunderous roar of "Air Assault!", Soldiers from around U.S. Army Europe charged to the start point of the obstacle course, here, March 27, marking day one of the Air Assault course.
Led by a Mobile Training Team from Fort Benning, Ga., this is the first time in two years that the Air Assault course has been taught in Europe.
"We're all excited to be here," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Slater, sergeant major of the Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning. "All of us are excited to put on some good quality training."
The MTT was invited to conduct the training by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and 172nd Infantry Brigade. The training is open to Soldiers throughout Europe and included two students from the Italian army. Host units provide all of the funding for the MTT and course Slater said.
"This is only the second time I've come out here to do this since joining the Warrior Training Center," said Slater. "But if we've got white space on the calendar and a unit has the funds for us to train Soldiers, we'll do it. That's our mission; to train Soldiers. And we'll always be happy to do that."
Training for day one of the 10 toughest days in the Army began with an assessment of the physical fitness of the participants including a 2-mile run and rigorous exercise culminating with the obstacle course.
"It's the hardest thing I've been through in the military, I'll tell you that much," said Spc. Eathan Petty, tracked vehicle mechanic, service battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment.
Participants tackle confidence building obstacles with names like The Tough One, Skyscraper, Weaver and the Dirty Name. While moving between each obstacle event, Soldiers perform individual exercises designed to continually tax them physically.
"As much as the obstacle course is challenging, it is each exercise in between that is meant to break you down," Petty said. "And it did."
With over seven years in the Army and three deployments under his belt, Petty said he wanted to attend the school in order to challenge himself and see what he's got.
"I've never done anything like this. This is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done in the military," Petty said.
Throughout the obstacle course, the watchful eyes of the MTT instructors constructively and thoroughly drive on Soldiers.
"These guys are all here to uphold a standard," said Slater. "They are not here to protect the badge, but at the same time they are not here to give anything away free. They are here to see that these Soldiers are being faced with challenging tasks and are rising to the occasion and meeting the standard to complete those tasks."
"Do not follow the standard set forth by your unit," said Cpl. Robert Summers, Warrior Training Center instructor, while introducing students to their first obstacle. "Follow the example of my demonstrator."
Admitting his slight bias, Slater went on to say, "I mean it from the very bottom of my heart. I truly have in my eyes, the very best instructors in the world at what they do."
"This Air Assault training provides the Brigade another enabler to better support the Global War on Terrorism," said Command Sgt. Maj. Malcom Parrish, interim command sergeant major of the 172nd Inf. Bde. "Specifically, ongoing operations in remote locations such as Afghanistan."