• FORT CAMPBELL, KY-  A Soldier with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) sets the pace during a 12-mile road march in the Toughest Air Assault Competition held Aug. 15, at the Sabalauski Air Assault School in Fort Campbell.  The competition is part of the Week of the Eagles 2012, a celebration of the Screaming Eagles.

    Setting the pace

    FORT CAMPBELL, KY- A Soldier with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) sets the pace during a 12-mile road march in the Toughest Air Assault Competition held Aug. 15, at the Sabalauski Air Assault School in Fort Campbell. The competition is part...

  • FORT CAMPBELL, KY- Pvt. 1st Class Julio Bennett of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), negotiates the "Tough One" during the obstacle course portion of the Toughest Air Assault Soldier competition held on Fort Campbell, Aug. 15.  The competition is a measure of a Soldiers physical endurance and knowledge of tactical operations.

    The obstacle course is a 'tough one'

    FORT CAMPBELL, KY- Pvt. 1st Class Julio Bennett of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), negotiates the "Tough One" during the obstacle course...

  • FORT CAMPBELL, KY- A Soldier competing in the Toughest Air Assault Competition rappels during the Week of the Eagles competition, Aug. 15, at Fort Campbell.   Soldiers in the competition must complete a 12-mile ruck march in a span of 3-hours then successfully complete a obstacle course before the rappelling portion of the day long event.

    Rappelling for the Toughest Air Assault Competition

    FORT CAMPBELL, KY- A Soldier competing in the Toughest Air Assault Competition rappels during the Week of the Eagles competition, Aug. 15, at Fort Campbell. Soldiers in the competition must complete a 12-mile ruck march in a span of 3-hours then...

  • FORT CAMPBELL, KY- A Toughest Air Assault Soldier bounds down the Air Assault Tower during the Toughest Air Assault Soldier Competition, Aug. 15, during Fort Campbell's Week of the Eagles 2012.  The overall event tested Soldiers physical endurance and tactical knowledge of aerial operations.

    Toughest Air Assault Soldier Competition

    FORT CAMPBELL, KY- A Toughest Air Assault Soldier bounds down the Air Assault Tower during the Toughest Air Assault Soldier Competition, Aug. 15, during Fort Campbell's Week of the Eagles 2012. The overall event tested Soldiers physical endurance and...

  • FORT CAMPBELL, KY- Maj. Gen. James McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, congratulates 2nd Lt. Sam Wilkins with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and 1st Lt. Jackson Wittkamper of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, after winning the Toughest Air Assault Soldier competition held Aug. 15, at Fort Campbell's Sabalauski Air Assault School. The award ceremony took place about 8-hours after the start of the all-day competition.

    The Toughest Air Assault Soldiers

    FORT CAMPBELL, KY- Maj. Gen. James McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, congratulates 2nd Lt. Sam Wilkins with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and 1st...

FORT CAMPBELL, KY - The moon still hovers in a predawn sky, visibility is low but the distinct sound of Soldiers adjusting their kits, boots and gear can still be strongly heard. They step off into the dark, the first of many in the next 12- miles, which has to be to be finished in under three hours time. This is the Toughest Air Assault Soldier Competition. Soldiers from each brigade are tested on their physical stamina, attention to detail and knowledge of tactical aerial operations. By day's end, one team will be the Toughest Air Assault Soldiers in Fort Campbell.

"The road march was the hardest part of the competition", said 2nd Lt. Sam Wilkins with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), after winning the competition held Aug. 15, at the Fort Campbell's Sabalauski Air Assault School. "It was a lot of gamesmanship."

A few hours later, the sky became fully lit, they began the competition's Obstacle Course, which included a 30-ft confidence climb, which resembles a giant freestanding ladder; the "Tough One", a 30-foot climb up involving ropes, balance beams and cargo nets; the "Belly Over", a free jump over a log using no hands; and "The Weaver", a series of wooden beams a competitor must climb over and under and not fall through. All obstacles are designed to exhaust and eliminate much of the competition after the Ruck March.

"I was like there is no way I'm going to make this, but I was going to get over this obstacle somehow," said Pvt. 1st Class Julio Bennett, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Following the obstacle course, the remaining competition began bounding down the side of the Air Assault school towers, completing the rappelling phase of the competition.

"The most important thing about repelling is your break hand," said Bennett. "The value of repelling would be for troop insertions into a hostile environment where you don't want the birds landing."

Whether by fast roping from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter or sling loading tactical equipment from base to base, the 101st relies heavily on air mobility. The sling load and written portion of the competition demonstrates a Soldier's overall knowledge of sling load working operations.

"The thing about sling loading is making sure it's rigged up correctly and inspect it three times before the bird comes and picks it up," said Bennett. "It's a method of transporting food, water and equipment downrange."

With the writing portion and a mystery event, the mystery event being a run with a weighted litter and a calling in a medical evacuation, the team of 1st Lt. Jackson Wittkamper of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment and Wilkins, finished first above the rest for the Toughest Air Assault Soldier Competition 2012.

"Our hard work paid off," said Wittkamper, after accepting a first place trophy and a gold medal. "The Army Olympics are over!," exhaled Bennett.

Page last updated Thu August 16th, 2012 at 10:06