FORT MEADE, MD, UNITED STATES
FORT MEADE, Md. - A 52-year-old Wilmington, Del., attorney and Army Reserve officer reached a milestone in his career when he graduated from the Army’s Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., in August.
Lt. Col. David Cline, 52, a civil affairs officer with the 352nd Civil Affairs Command, learned during training that he was 10 years older than the oldest instructor and the highest-ranking officer in his training cycle. Since he was over the school’s age limit of 35, he needed a waiver and a physical before he could attend the training.
Cline attended airborne training earlier in his career, but broke his hand during training, making him unable to finish it. As he continued in his career, he found himself restricted from some positions that required airborne qualification, so he waited for another opportunity to present itself.
“When I came to the 352nd, I was asked what schools I wanted to go to,” Cline said. “To reward me for my good performance with the unit, I was given the chance to attend airborne training.”
Cline said he was surrounded by other trainees who were significantly younger than him. He was at least 30 years older than some of his fellow graduates.
“They were very young people,” he said. “I wondered if I was ever that young.” The school is physically demanding and includes 3.2-mile runs every other day. Cline said he lost 14 pounds going through that punishment in August.
“The humidity was like a sauna,” he said.
Cline said the most challenging parts of the course were the conditioning and preparation drills trainees went through before they got to jump.
While at the BAC, trainees also take an Army Physical Fitness Test.
Trainees take an Army Physical Fitness Test in which men must run two miles in 15:54 and perform 42 pushups and 53 situps in two minutes each.
The 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the unit responsible for training at the school has a specific section that guides students to prepare for the intense training in a hot, humid southern Georgia climate.
Cline said the actual jumps were probably just as challenging because of weather conditions. He bruised his shoulders and hips running with his parachuting equipment on his way to the plane for one of the five jumps required for graduation.
Cline said he was constantly reminded by the instructors that being the highest-ranking Soldier in the class meant younger soldiers were looking up to him.
“I’m proud to have completed the training in the twilight of my military career,” he said.
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This work, Delaware attorney achieves milestone in Army Reserve Career, by SGT Erick Yates, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.