Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr., Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) commander, spoke about being consistently impressed by Rivas' ability to execute the rigorous schedule along with Air Assault cadre. Along with the company operating strong throughout the 83 total classes under Rivas' command, TSAAS has remained a tightly knit family.
"One of the biggest improvements has been in the pre-ranger course," said Harris. "The Division went from 19% graduation rate to 51%."
Since taking command January of 2018, Rivas' oversaw 108 Pre-Ranger graduates, 165 Pathfinder's graduate and watched more than 4,000 soldiers graduate and earn their Air Assault wings through the school.
"The overall mission is to train soldiers to be Air Assault qualified," said Rivas. "So they can go back and execute the rigorous mission sets that are expected of this division."
Rivas acknowledged the sling load master course and supporting division initiatives such as the Air Assault Symposiums, which provide feedback to senior leaders to help focus their efforts to continue to contribute to the greatness of the division.
"The start of the sling load master course will hopefully make the overall force that much better," said Rivas. "Sharpen the tip of the spear."
Rivas is heading to the University of Denver, Colorado, where he will be pursuing a master's degree.
Rivas advice to Gibbons in regards to command was simple. Enjoy every minute of it.
Gibbons most recent assignment was Aide De Camp to the Commanding General of the 101st Abn. Div.
"I'm hoping to train as many soldiers, get as many as we can Air Assault qualified, Pathfinder qualified and Pre-Ranger qualified," said Gibbons. "To give back to the division."
Gibbons thanked Rivas for the great handover and gave his appreciation for the depth of knowledge and experience that he was provided.
The role of Air Assault School is to provide soldiers with the basic fundamentals of operating off rotary-wing platforms, to be prepared for when they are called upon. The school operates at a high tempo, providing the 101st with multiple courses to strengthen the formations with skills critical to the Division's mission. Courses offered at the school include Air Assault, Rappel Master, Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System and Special Purpose Insertion Extraction System, Pathfinder and the Pre-Ranger Course.