Soldiers graduate Air Assault School at Fort Drum
July 19, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Members of the Fort Drum community gathered June 29 at the Light Fighter School for a ceremony honoring Soldiers who have graduated from the Air Assault Course.
The Air Assault Course is conducted in three phases. During Phase I -- also known as the Combat Assault Phase -- Soldiers are taught combat-arms assault operations, pathfinder operations, hand-and-arm signals and aircraft orientation.
Phase II focuses on sling load operations, teaching the students to inspect, inventory and rig loads. Soldiers are trained on six different loads and are tested on their ability to inspect and find deficiencies on four loads. During this phase, students also learn the duties and responsibilities of the sling load team and how to control a lifting aircraft, how to hook up a load, and safety considerations.
The final phase is designed to teach Soldiers how to rappel and hook up. During this time, Soldiers learn rappel master commands, belay and safety procedures, and emergency lock-ins. The students also learn to rappel from slant walls and the wall side of the Light Fighter School tower, to gain confidence in their abilities and equipment.
The final day of the course took the students on a 12-mile road march, which they needed to complete within three hours so they could qualify for the Air Assault Badge.
Air Assault School cadre kicked off the graduation ceremony by performing a rappelling demonstration for attendees.
Next, guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, senior enlisted adviser of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, congratulated the graduates of Class 01-12 on their achievement.
"When I was asked to give the speech for today's air assault graduation, I had to stop and think how long it had been since I went through the Air Assault School," Jones said.
He noted that he asked to see the school requirements because he was curious if there were any differences from when he went through the school.
"After reading the requirements, I came to the conclusion that there (aren't) really many differences at all; in fact, it brought back some memories," Jones explained.
He noted that the same phases are still taught at the course and the road march is still held on the final day.
"As you depart here, remember this is not just another badge that you wear," Jones told the graduates. "It's a badge of confidence, skill and knowledge -- currently the way of life for all U.S. Soldiers that operate in Afghanistan and other countries around the world."
"Don't just wear the badge -- be the air assault expert," he concluded.
After his speech, Jones helped recognize three outstanding graduates.
First Lt. Ian Allen, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, was named Distinguished Honor Graduate.
First Lt. Daniel Hogan, Path-finder Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, was named Honor Graduate.
Sgt. Jeffrey Laursen, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, was winner of the road march, completing the 12-mile road march in two hours and 17 minutes.
Other graduates were as follows: Capt. Greer E. Illingworth, Capt. Adam C. Lowenstein, Capt. Patrick Miller, Capt. Frank D. Remillard, 1st Lt. Larry Barnard, 1st Lt. Christopher J. Epstein, 1st Lt. Kyle Hedgroth, 1st Lt. Paul M. Kearney, 1st Lt. Adolfo Ramirez, 2nd Lt. Timothy Brennan, 2nd Lt. Anthony Chedid, 2nd Lt. Maurice D. Cooper and 2nd Lt. Daniel J. Halaszywski.
Also, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph A. Belt, Sgt. 1st Class Adrian A. Gordon, Sgt. 1st Class Peter C. Ray, Sgt. 1st Class Jessie E. Walters, Staff Sgt. Jason Andrade, Staff Sgt. Stephen T. Bearor, Staff Sgt. Corey Brimmer, Staff Sgt. Joseph T. Cole, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Crisp, Staff Sgt. Edgardo Diaz-Vazquez, Staff Sgt. Stephen Hall, Staff Sgt. Zachary A. Heins, Staff Sgt. Marcus R. Love, Staff Sgt. Tad L. Meyers, Staff Sgt. Philip R. Oliver, Staff Sgt. Eddie Rojas, Staff Sgt. Francisco X. Soto, Staff Sgt. Justin M. Storie-Zellweger, Staff Sgt. Victor C. Velasquez, Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Watts, Staff Sgt. Caleb C. Webster, Staff Sgt. Carl T. Wiger, Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Woods and Staff Sgt. Jesus Zuniga.
Also, Sgt. Jeffry J. Bruce, Sgt. Patrick A. Gordon, Sgt. Joshua J. Haseley, Sgt. Justin T. Hughes, Sgt. Ryan Kay, Sgt. Roy E. Kingery, Sgt. Tenzin Lama, Sgt. Arthur Languedoc, Sgt. Peter T. Loso, Sgt. Micah W. Mckamie, Sgt. Alexander Murphy, Sgt. Ryan Murry, Sgt. Michael S. Narbon, Sgt. Arsenio L. Pagan, Sgt. Kyle Pierson, Sgt. Matthew B. Rawls, Sgt. Judas D. Sanchez, Sgt. Mark A. Watts, Spc. Steven K. Alcorn, Spc. Benjamin Arold, Spc. Christian D. Blackmon, Spc. Matthew D. Booker, Spc. Kevin D. Burton, Spc. Caleb M. Caulder, Spc. Ryan P. Cyr, Spc. Zachary J. Diesman and Spc. Jared N. Dukes.
Also, Spc. Shane S. Earls, Spc. Hamid Ennouri, Spc. Edgard Estrella, Spc. Matthew M. Gonzales, Spc. Matthew D. Haddox, Spc. Walter Hastings, Spc. Jermaine R. Haynes, Spc. Julio E. Hernandez, Spc. Keith M. Koharski, Spc. James B. Layn, Spc. Charles A. Lomas, Spc. Daniel Mccright, Spc. Victor Molina-Mendez, Spc. Kevin J. Morrison, Spc. Jason M. Mozingo, Spc. Kris R. Ortiz, Spc. Adam T. Pagart, Spc. Benjamin L. Parsons, Spc. David K. Pettaway, Spc. Jerome K. Solomon and Spc. Zachary S. Vrobel.
Also, Pfc. Jonathan Aguilar, Pfc. Kenneth A. Bertomeu, Pfc. Robert J. Clews, Pfc. William B. Dalke, Pfc. Johnson G. Dorn, Pfc. Robert M. Ellison, Pfc. Benjamin R. Heflin, Pfc. Dylan M. Hubschman, Pfc. Gilbert J. Lee, Pfc. Aaron S. Pendergast, Pfc. Anthony L. Perkins, Pfc. Jeremy L. Peters, Pfc. Alonso Resendez, Pfc. Joshua P. Russell, Pfc. Nicholas R. Shelton, Pfc. Dylan L. Steele, Pfc. Andrew L. Strickland, Pfc. Luis A. Vargas, Cadet Justin P. Harrington, Cadet Joseph M. Locci, Cadet Kevin A. O'Connor, Cadet Eric W. O'Donnell and Cadet Robert J. Timian.