LANDSTUHL, Germany -- U.S. Army Spc. Jason Riley, a biomedical equipment specialist assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe, recently earned his Air Assault badge, learning a host of new skills that will translate to future roles and responsibilities in his military career.
The 10-day program at The Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, includes three phases in Air Assault operations, including sling-load operations and rappelling, that enable Soldiers to make maximum use of helicopter assets in training and combat to support their unit’s operations.
“This has been a tremendous achievement for me, and I am grateful that I was able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity,” Riley said. “Attending Air Assault School has always been one of my many dreams, so I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to do so.”
Riley, 20, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, thanked his father, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Riley, and his officers and noncommissioned officers at USAMMC-E for supporting him in the endeavor, as well as the NCOs at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, who helped him prepare through their train-on program.
“My father actually attended my graduation and personally pinned my Air Assault wings to my chest, and it felt like I was upholding a family tradition because he also attended Air Assault School during his Army career,” Riley said.
USAMMC-E, a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command, is the theater lead agent for medical materiel, or TLAMM, in the U.S. European Command and U.S. African Command theaters of operation, as well as U.S. Department of State activities in the region.
And while his new skills don’t specifically apply to his current role as a biomedical maintenance technician, Riley said they would be a great asset if he would be assigned to a field unit in the future.
“I would be able to assist in sling-load operations when transporting medical materiel,” he said.
Since graduating Nov. 3, 2022, Riley wasted little time paying it forward by serving as a cadre, or training liaison, at Landstuhl to help prepare the next group of candidates heading to Air Assault school, just as previous graduates helped him.
The cadre provides an opportunity to familiarize incoming Soldiers with the events and obstacles they will be expected to perform prior to arriving at Fort Campbell, including completing a packing list, a two-mile run followed by an obstacle course, a four-mile run, six-mile road march and a 12-mile road march.
“Our cadre is full of recent graduates, and they constantly remind the candidates that this class is hard but worth it,” said Staff Sgt. Donald E. Walls Jr., NCOIC of Landstuhl’s Air Assault train-up program. “They share tips on how to pack the ruck sack, how to adjust the ruck sack so that it is high on the back and easier to carry, and how to effectively negotiate the obstacles.”
Walls said Riley “is probably the most dedicated member of the cadre that we have,” always arriving early, setting a positive and leading ruck marches with future school candidates.
“He’s the epitome of what it means to be a servant leader,” Walls said of Riley.
"Many Soldiers attend the train-up, get the badge and don’t come back and help others, but not Spc. Riley. He is a great example of what it means to serve and will do well in front of Soldiers when his time comes.”