US Army Air Assault School is a two-week (10 days) course of instruction conducted at several locations across the Army, including Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Drum, NY; Camp Smith, USMA; and at overseas locations in Germany and Hawaii. In each case, the course of instruction is focused on Combat Assault Operations involving US Army rotary-wing aircraft. Our battalion usually receives only one or two slots to Air Assault School(s) each summer, which are open to both male and female cadets meeting the minimum requirements listed below.
On Zero Day, you will report to the school no later than 4:30 am for in processing. At 5:45 PM, the class moves to the obstacle course for the entrance examination. The exam begins with stretching exercises followed by a safety demonstration of the 9 station obstacle course. The class then lines up at the course start point and begins negotiating the course. You will double time between obstacles, sounding off with a loud "Air Assault" every time your left foot strikes the ground. You must complete the first two obstacles and can only fail one of the remaining seven obstacles. You will have two chances to complete each obstacle.
Upon completion of the obstacle course, a 2-mile run in Army boots will be performed by all obstacle course survivors. The 2-mile formation run will be run at a 10 minute per mile pace. Those who complete the obstacle course and finish the 2-mile run in 20 minutes will be enrolled in the Air Assault School. Ten to fifteen percent of potential students do not make it past Zero Day, but don't let that discourage you.
AIR ASSAULT PHASE
You start training with an in-ranks inspection. The standards are high and no one gets cut any slack. If you don't meet the standards you will receive a spot report. Then it's off to physical training. You will do some form of PT everyday. After breakfast it's off to class. During the Air Assault Phase, you will become proficient in: air assault operations, pathfinder operations, hand and arm signals, aircraft familiarization, aircraft safety, and aeromedevac operations.
During this phase, you will learn how to prepare loads for slingload. This equipment includes the M101A1 Howitzer, M998 HMMWV, 5,000 lb. or 10,000 lb. Cargo Nets, A-22 Cargo Bag, and Multi-Fuel Blivets. Everything must be committed to memory, such as the tensile strength of equipment used in slingload operations, lift capabilities of supporting aircraft, and rigging and inspection of prepared loads.
In this final phase, you will receive instruction in basic rappelling. Initially, you will attend ground training which consists of tying a Swiss seat and rappelling off the 12-foot incline ramp. After watching a demonstration, you will then begin advanced rappelling from the 50-foot tower wall side, both with and without equipment. Next you will rappel off the tower from the skid (open) side. The next day, you will rappel from Army helicopters hovering at 100 feet above the ground and you will love it.
Each student puts on load bearing equipment, 30-pound rucksack, helmet, draws an M-16 rifle and moves to the starting point for the 12-mile road march. Exactly three hours later, approximately 90% of the students have crossed the finish line. Those who survive the tough foot march begin realizing that they have done it!
The Air Assault Course is physically and mentally demanding. It requires a great deal of studying to pass the written tests and physical conditioning to pass the physical tests. If you have the stamina, intelligence and "gut it out attitude" you can become Air Assault qualified. If you rise to the occasion and successfully complete the Air Assault, Slingload, and Rappelling phases, and the 12-mile foot march, the distinctive right and honor to wear the Air Assault Badge will be yours.
Minimum Entry Requirements:
- Complete the MS II year of ROTC
- Pass the Army Physical Fitness Test
- Demonstrate ability to do at least 6 pullups
- Receive an approved Army/Air Assault Physical within 18 months of attendance
- Instructor Nomination
- Since attendance at Air Assault is both mentally and physically challenging, the PMS will assess each applicant, with special emphasis on overall physical fitness and the maturity level to attend and complete the course.