GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - The U.S. Army Air Assault School is known as the 10 toughest days in the U.S. Army. Averaging a 50 percent dropout rate across the board, it was no surprise when many Soldiers were dropped from the course on day zero. The course successfully graduated 184 students during a ceremony at the Tower Barracks Fitness Center in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 20, 2019.

U.S. Army Sgt. Jernell Bugay, intelligence noncommissioned officer in charge, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, was recognized as the course honor graduate. Bugay missed only one question during the course.

"For me, coming into this, the thing I was most worried about was the 12-mile ruck," said Bugay. "I have never considered myself a good ruck [marcher], but I knew I just had to push through. [With] it being the last event, there was no way I was going to fail."

The most challenging portion of the course was phase two, the sling load phase.

"I found it very challenging because it was hands on," explained Bungay. "It was definitely the most practical out of all the phases."

Students were required to complete four different sling loads: the A-22 cargo bag, a 5,000-pound cargo net, a M1101 light tactical trailer and the M1097 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle. While the students did not facilitate the rigs themselves, they were responsible for completing the inspection portion.

"We had to find all the tiny deficiencies throughout the actual inspections," explained Bugay.

Graduates from the course, like Bugay, will now return to their units with expanded knowledge and badge to identify themselves as the resident air assault experts.

"As you depart here, I encourage you to remember this is not just another badge that you wear, it's a badge of confidence, skill and knowledge," said Lt. Col. Troy Meissel, deputy commander, 2d Cavalry Regiment. "Don't just wear the badge, be the air assault expert."

The air assault course was instructed by a mobile training team and is held each year in September at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.