'Sky Soldiers' hit it hard at Italian air assault school
March 18, 2013
LIVORNO, Italy (March 18, 2013) -- A small team of six Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team traveled to Livorno, Italy, last month to train with the 1st Tuscania Special Operations Regiment.
The air assault training they encountered was not the traditional type they were used to. Whereas the typical American course comprises 10 days of training, the Italian parachutists conduct a similarly difficult course, but completed it in half the time.
The Soldiers started out at the training towers to practice basic repelling techniques, but quickly switched over to live scenarios. Each 173rd "Sky Soldier" took his turn repelling from the doors of a Carabinieri helicopter.
While it was a fast transition, the 1st Tuscania Special Operations Regiment expects that anyone attending their training will be able to adapt to the increasing intensity, and the 173rd Soldiers were no exception. They were held to the same high standard that was expected of all personnel selected for the training.
The 1st Tuscania Special Operations Regiment is one of many fraternal military units that the 173rd partners with in Italy. They are an elite group composed of some of the best and brightest that the Italian Carabinieri has to offer.
For an Italian citizen, the process of becoming one of these elite agents is a long and arduous road. Some who apply never make it far enough to see everything the school has to offer, making the opportunity even more meaningful for Sgt. Kevin Welsh of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd ABCT.
"We received training that only a select few get to participate in, and I can see why," he said.
"This training was incredible. I wish it was longer."
Though a hectic and incredibly difficult challenge, all six of the 173rd paratroopers were able to successfully graduate the five-day course. Upon finishing the last class, each 173rd Soldier received a certificate of completion from the school house indicating a job well done.
"It was an absolutely amazing time training with the Carabinieri," Welsh said. "I know there are more phases to this training, and if given the opportunity I would love to continue training with them. It was that much fun."
With the success of recent training events, including this one, the 173rd ABCT and the 1st Tuscania Special Operations Regiment will continue to train together, planning more partnered training opportunities in the months to come.