At the request of Cal, I've posted a log of everything I did in this school to better prepare other soldiers who are going to take it soon to better get a grasp of what will be expected of them when they attend.
Here is a link to the official Air Assault Packing List from the Ft. Campbell website.
26 MAY 05
I had to report to AASLT School at 0430 HRS to meet my schools NCO, but we didn't get selected from our units until about 0500 I think (Didn't have a watch on).
After getting into school, the ground is covered in lovely little rocks that feel great when doing push ups....we were all dropped upon entry to the school to do 10 "AASLT Push Ups" (thumbs touching) then ran to a formation yelling Air Assault each time our left foot hit the ground. After a short briefing on who the cadre in front of us were and how we were to address them "Air Assault Sergeant" we moved into a classroom for about 15 minutes while we got our Roster numbers. After we got our roster numbers we moved back out to the formation and were assigned to our platoon and sticks/squads.
Then we marched to the obstacle course while singing a raped version of an Airborne Cadence "OOH AHH - Air Assault!" which kind of annoyed me, but whatever.
Only TWO of these obstacles are mandatory (The Tough One and The Confidence Climb), and you got two chances to complete an obstacle before being considered a "NO-GO", but you could only be a NO-GO at one obstacle in the entire course w/o being dropped.
So the first obstacle was called, "The tough one", where you had to climb up a rope get on a landing and walk across some planks with gaps in between them and then up a wooden ladder, over the top and down a cargo net. Not very tough unless you can't climb a rope which quite a few people seemed to have trouble with. Why you would go to Air Assault w/o being able to climb a rope is beyond me, but again.. whatever.
"The Tough One"
Then you move on to another obstacle which I can't remember the name of, but it was simply a slanted wall you had to pull your self over and maintain a low silhouette. I was a bit nervous about this one, as the last time I had done this course was over a year ago, just for fun during PT one day and I had some problems with this one, but this time I'm happy to say it didn't present a problem for me as I was a first time GO.
(Some of these other obstacles might be in the wrong order, but I'll try to remember what order they were in)
After that was the "Low Belly Over", basically you stand on a log, jump up and land on another log at about head level and a couple feet in front of you with your stomach and roll summersault style over it and land on your feet. Again some people had a challenge with this one (especially the shorter people) but it didn't present a problem to me and I got another first time GO.
"Low Belly Over"
The next obstacle was some Tarzan kind of thing, where you had to swing on a rope, land on a log about 4 feet in the air, stabilize yourself and yell Air Assault and hop down. Again I was a bit nervous about this one too, as I had problems stabilizing myself on that log the last time I did the course, but thank God, I got it the first try again. Now I was feeling confident, I knew I could do the rest with ease.
Next was the Confidence Climb, it's basically a wooden ladder with varying heights to the next rung, about 100 feet high I would guess. If you're scared of heights this one might get to you, but it's really not that hard. Just don't look down. LOL
After that came the "Six Vault" where you vault yourself over six hurdles only touching the hurdles with your hands. The hurdles are probably about four feet tall, maybe a little more. Should only be a problem if you're short with very little upper body strength.
The next obstacle was pretty pointless I think, but basically you crawl underneath barbed wire in the sand without touching the barbed wire. I think this one was pretty much just to get your dirty, but hey it was fun.
The next obstacle was a set of hurdles that you had to interlock your hands behind your head and step over, you could sit on them with your butt, as long as you were making forward progress on the obstacle. Again, not a real big deal unless you're short.
Then came the final obstacle... "the weaver", this one was a bit more demanding on the upper body. You had to ascend and descend a sort of "A frame" of planks going over and under each plank. Basically it looked like two great wide wooden ladders that had fallen into each other. Every other plank was painted yellow and the next was painted black. You had to go over the yellow and under the black, and you had to do it laying parallel to the planks. It was a bit more challenging, but nothing to really be worried about if you have decent upper body strength.
The Weaver (Picture from Camp Atterbury, but it's the same thing)
After you completed the O-course you double timed back to formation changed into your running shoes and put your PT belt on and waited for everyone else to finish the course, stretching while you waited.
After everyone who completed the course made it back to formation you go on a two mile release run, which had to be completed in 18 minutes. Believe it or not... people actually failed this. My two mile time was increased by about 30 seconds or so, but I really wasn't trying to go full boar since it was just a pass/fail event anyway.
We were then released to our "break area" for 30 minutes to eat and refill our canteens. Not tobacco, cell phones or gum is allowed on school grounds so all you could do is eat, piss and refill your canteens.
After people had been weeded out of class by the O-course and the run, they brought on the smoke session, which I was actually impressed by. Up until the smoke session, I thought it was actually kind of lame, but they seemed to lay the smack down on people and even got a few more to quit, which really didn't make sense to me. Why pass all the other events and then quit when you knew it was only a matter of time before the smoke session would be over?.. again... whatever.
After the smoke session which probably lasted about an hour, maybe a little longer we moved into the classroom to watch some videos and get a full class briefing. Stay awake or get smoked.
After that we moved back outside got a Four Day release briefing (Memorial Day four day weekend), had a couple other things briefed to us, got back in formation, marched to the pull up bars, did the "five and dime" (5 pull ups and 10 elevated AASLT push ups), which you have to do any time you enter or exit the school grounds, before we were released for the day.
We got out at about 1330 HRS, but I think that may have been because the cadre wanted to get out and enjoy the four day as much as we did.
31 MAY 05
First formation was at 0625 HRS (5 minutes early for Black shirt formation) for PT. Muscle failure, lots of push ups, sit ups and crunches.
Released for breakfast/change into BDU's around 0730. Equipment inspection formation at 0855 HRS (again, five min early for Black Shirt formation).
You had 15 minutes (although I don't think it was really 15 min, didn't time it though) to lay out your equipment and then the inspected your gear and made sure you had everything laid out according to the diagram you receive on Zero Day.
I got two gigs, which is minus 5 points each, but I stayed late and worked off 5 of those points. (Minus 40 points and you're dropped from class.) For some reason I misread the diagram and only had one set of inserts when there was supposed to be two, and then apparently they didn't want the brown T-Shirts rolled up, but folded, so I got a gig for that as well. I plan to work off the other five points tomorrow if they allow us to do that again, which I think they will.
After that we grounded our rucks and LBE's and moved into the classroom for classes on Aircraft recognition, Sling Load Operations, MEDEVAC's/CASEVAC's etc, throughout the day with a lunch break from about 1110 HRS to 1200 HRS (again five min early) and 3-4 10 min breaks. At a little after 1500 we moved out into the field and practiced hand and arm signals for about 15-20 min, moved into the break area and got a short brief about the 6 mile road march we were to perform the next day, time to be there, etc. (0355 HRS)
After the brief those who didn't volunteer to stay and work off points or were part of the duty platoon, were marched over to the pull up bars after they had secured their equipment to do the 5 and dime before being released for the day. I think it was about 10 - 15 min before 1600 hrs when they got released, those of us who stayed were released about 20 min after that, prepping the water cans for the road march tomorrow and cleaning the school grounds etc.
Not a bad day.
1 JUNE 05
We started the day off with a formation at 0355 with a trip to the weapons ramp to get a dummy weapon for our six mile road march. After a quick briefing on the route etc, inside the classroom, we moved out to our formation and marched over to the entrance to the AASLT School.
From there we began our six mile road march which we had the standard 15 min mile pace (1 hr 30 min total) to complete it in. We moved out going down Air Assault Road and turned left onto Range Road until just before the little bird at Cav Country where we made a left and followed a sidewalk/running track down probably a mile and a half (maybe?) to around the corner from the rail road tracks.
This was the half way point and you had to check in announcing your roster number and holding your 1 qt canteen over your head to show that you had drank it. If you still had water in the canteen you had to stand there wasting your time to drink it, or if you were an idiot like one guy I saw today who poured a full canteen on your head in front of the black shirt, you'll get a "failure to follow instructions and a minus 5". Anyway after you've done all that you turn around and come back the same way you came. I was amazed at how many people were still coming to the turn around point (and VERY slowly at that) as I headed back up the route to the AASLT school to finish the road march. I started feeling my knee begin to ache and I slowed my pace a bit, but I was still well ahead of most of the pack, with around 20 or so people ahead of me who there was slim chance I could catch anyway.
As I made my way back I was about an 1/8th of a mile away from the finish line and some MEDICAL female WO1 snuck up on me and as I turned to see who was about to pass me I had to literally stop myself from saying, "OH HELL NO, I AM NOT GETTING BEAT BY A CHICK" out loud. From that point on I pretty much ran the whole way back and said screw the knee, I ain't getting beat by a female. Yes... my sexist male ego motivated me.. whatever works, right?
After we crossed the finish line we had to go turn in our dummy weapons and beat feet to the motor pool for our ruck sack inspection (to make sure no one had left anything out to lighten their load and also a chance for the black shirts to deduct some points from people. People would become "Road March failures" even if they passed it and simply forgot or lost something as trivial as an ear plug, or were missing your Air Assault handbook. If you were a road march failure or were declared a road march failure because of a piece of missing equipment you received a minus 10.
I'd learned my lesson from the first inspection and made sure my shit was squared the fuck away this time. (Although I THOUGHT my shit was last time too, lol).
Anyway, after we were done with our inspection we grounded our rucks got water and went inside the classroom to await further instructions. I don't know exactly what my time was, but I'm guessing around 1 hr 15 min or so, since I had time to put away my weapon, set up my layout and be inspected, ground my ruck and fill my canteen with water, when I heard them counting down 5....4....3....2....1....STOP! I couldn't believe how many people still hadn't finished when the black shirt yelled stop, I don't know how many there were but there were quite a few. It's gonna suck major donkey balls for them on the 12 miler if they can't complete a simple six miler in time.
Anyway after everyone finally made it into the classroom, we were released to go shower, eat or whatever at about 0630 and didn't have to report back 'till 0755. When we got back, a kickass instructor summed up a 2 hour lesson into a little over an hour and gave us a little over a 2 hour lunch. I couldn't believe that, but hell I wasn't going to object.
After lunch it started to rain and we came back and practiced some Pathfinder Operations outside, hand an arm signals, and took a joyride in a Blackhawk *twirls finger*. I guess maybe it was cool for someone who'd never been in one before, but I tried to occupy my time identifying parts of Campbell from the air.
After we were done with all that, they gave us a short verbal quiz to help us study a little before they released us. I stayed late again to make up the other 5 points I had lost from the initial ruck inspection and got out around 1630 I think.
Got a little wet, but again, it was a pretty good day.
Oh, I almost forgot.. during the morning class I made a funny. Hehehehe... the instructor was asking if anyone knew what the NAP stood for in the Terrain Flight Mode "NAP-OF-THE-EARTH". To which I eagerly raised my hand and with the most AIRBORNE presence I could command, smiled and said.. NON AIRBORNE PERSONNEL. Needless to say all the Airborne soldiers laughed their asses off. LOL
2 JUNE 05
We started out the day with a 0625 PT formation were we did a shady workout consisting of some jogging in circles, tracking down our guide on and a couple four man push up competitions. At about 0715 we were released until 0855.
When we came back for our 0855 formation we took the Aircraft recognition, Pathfinder 50 question, multiple choice written test and then tested on hand and arm signals after everyone was done with the written test. The class was considerably smaller after this, not sure how many we're down to now, but I would guess maybe about 130 or so. At any rate I passed both events, I know I screwed up the first hand and arm signal, but I got the rest right ( just had a brain fart on that one). As for the written test, I think I did fairly well on it, but they didn't give us our scores, the only let the people who failed know that they failed.
For those of us who where first time GO's we got an extended lunch break while the NO-GO's retested after an hour or so study break. Fail it twice and you're out of class.
When we came back from lunch we started classes on Sling Loading and finished up the day at around 1630 HRS. I've made up all of my negative points so I didn't have to stay today to get any back.
Pretty easy day, although I will say that you definitely need to study or you will fail the test, some of the questions, I had no idea on and I did study, and some things I did study weren't on the test, but I passed, so I ain't complainin'.
3 JUNE 05
We came in today for PT formation at 0625 again, and ran 3 miles today. Of course being the highly motivated AIRBORNE soldier that I am, I sang some cadences.. but these jokers had RULES for cadence.
1) No swearing.
2) No Airborne cadences.
3) Nothing about killing anyone.
They killed off half of my collection right there! Luckily I knew some other cadences and got a plus five for being lower enlisted and singing cadence, so now I'm five points in the positive.
I've been trying to think of a way to get 'em for the anti-Airborne shit they pull... maybe I'll sound off with a LOUD AND THUNDEROUS AIRBORNE as I exit the Blackhawk!
Might get smoked for it, but it'd be worth it. LOL
After, PT we had time to go get changed and grab something to eat as usual. Got out of PT between 0715-0730 and didn't have to be back 'till 0855. When we came back we were marched into the motor pool to receive hands on lessons for sling load inspections, how to rig different sling loads etc.
We got three classes before lunch, broke for lunch between 1115 - 1130 but I couldn't really get anywhere to get something to eat, because an Air Assault graduation had just gotten out for the class ahead of us and there were hundreds of people there. So, after about five minutes of being stuck in the parking lot I just said screw it, I'll eat when I get home and took a nap in my truck.
After lunch was over, we received three more classes on the remaining sling loads, conducted clean up as an entire class (although there wasn't really much to do) and were released at 1500.
Funny story I forgot to mention, we were all standing around in formation waiting for the last stick to come back from a class and I was listening to this LEG PFC in my class who's apparently been through Ranger School, and he started talking about BAC and he seemed to know a little about it, so I thought maybe he was Airborne and just not wearing his wings for some ungodly reason, so I asked him, "Where's your wings?" and he said, "I got kicked out for having a chick in my barracks room."
Then he started talking about RS to this kid next to me, and he recommended that the kid go to RS as a LEG. I asked, "Why would he want to do that?" And he said, "Cause he can sleep while the Airborne guys are getting ready to jump." To which I responded... "I'd rather be tired than be a fuckin LEG." The PFC just looked at me and shrugged.... I got a kick out of it at least!
All in all, pretty decent day.
6 JUNE 05
The morning began as usual, with a 0625 PT formation. We did station training today, and it was actually a pretty good workout, not to mention that according to the radio it was 80 degrees by 0730. Push Ups (regular, close hand, wide arm and eight count), Flutter Kicks, crunches, squat thrusts, and that squatting exercise I can never remember the name of. We also did some running, nothing too far or fast, just some jogging around the field. When we formed back up to get released, we had a guy pass out.. guess he drank too many beers this weekend, lol.
We were released around 0725 I think and had to be back in formation at 0900. When we came back we did some practical exercises finding gigs on improperly rigged sling loads. There were 12 sling loads (2 of each kind) that we rotated through taking up the entire morning, all the while wearing our Kevlar's in that blistering heat. It reminded me of Ft. Jackson in the summer, we were sweating like crazy just standing in line waiting our turn to find the gigs on the load.
We were about to be released for lunch and they were asking for volunteers to guard our rucksacks, etc. I raised my hand and successfully screwed myself. I had forgotten that you couldn't chew tobacco inside the school grounds, and as a guard I had to stay in there. *Kicks himself in the ass. Hadn't had a chew since 0830 that morning, and I was pretty pissed at myself for volunteering to guard rucksacks that nobody was gonna mess with anyway. Oh well, lessons learned I guess.
Lunch was from 1130ish to 1240, and when everyone got back, we went to practice hooking up a load to a 47. That was a boring couple of hours. After we had our turn hooking up a load, we got our notes out and studied for the upcoming test, while waiting for everyone else to finish. We we're supposed to have two birds, but one was having some problems, so we ended up working with only one, which made it take twice the time to get everyone run through on. Just like the Blackhawk ride, it might've been cool for someone who'd never worked around aircraft before, but it kind of seemed like a waste of time to me.
After we were done practicing the hook up, we were split up by platoon, one doing more practical exercises on checking for gigs on improperly rigged sling loads while the other was given a review question and answer in the break area. During the review, the cadre would ask the students questions that "might" be on the test tomorrow and drop them if they didn't know the answer. It was for our benefit, and I think everyone realized that.
After both platoons had completed both the sling loads inspections and the review, we were all marched into the motor pool, where we could have a "free for all" where we could check out the different sling loads once again and ask any remaining questions we had to the cadre.
Once everyone was done with that, we were released at about 1730 HRS.
A longer day then the most, but I think it will help a lot of us out on the test tomorrow. I'm off to go study, wish me luck on the test and sling load inspection!
7 JUNE 05
Well today started at 0625, no PT but instead we went straight into the testing portion of sling loads. We had an hour to complete a 50 question multiple choice exam just like the first one. I'd studied Sunday evening, and almost from the time I got home last night, until I went to bed, so I think I did fairly well on the written test. I'll update this with my score, once they post the scores. I know I didn't fail, as they call all the failures out and have them re-test, but I was almost positive that wasn't going to be an issue, as I think I only missed probably a max of 5 questions.
After we were done with the written test, we moved on to the sling load inspections. Now this I was a bit more nervous about. Yeah, I'd studied, but being on the spot like that kind of made me a little nervous. I was wishing I was jumping out the back of a 47 instead of doing this inspection, but obviously I just drove on. When you do the inspection, there are six possible loads you can test on, but you only actually test on four of them with two minutes at each load. You have to find three out of four deficiencies (sp?) to pass each load.
If you passed both the written test and the inspection on the first time around, you were released as soon as you were done.
The first inspection I got was the Shotgun (two Humvee's - counts as two loads and you have four minutes to finish), which I passed, the next was the Cargo Net, which was easy, and then I moved on to the water trailer, which everyone including myself though would be easy, but I fucked this one up. I had found two deficiencies, and as he counted down, 3 - 2 - 1 - STOP! I saw the last one I needed, but couldn't get it out in time and was a frickin' NO-GO.
At this point I was so pissed at myself, not only for failing, but for not seeing this EASY deficiency from the get go, and then for finding it 1 second too late.
After that I was told to go report to the Black Shirt ( A Black Shirt is an instructor, in case I failed to mention that before.) who was keeping track of everyone on a log that I was a NO-GO. No, you can't cheat and lie to this other Black Shirt, as you're examiner also keeps a log of how you did, so don't try it if that's what you're thinking.
After reporting in to the Black Shirt, I was told to go sit with the other 45-50 some odd people who had screwed up too. After I got there I didn't feel as bad, since most of the people failed the same load I did, but I was still kicking myself in the ass for not being better then them and passing as a first time GO.
Anyway, we were all told to sit there and study our notes and that we would be re-trained and re-tested on the same load(s) we previously failed. After they were finished with everyone else's first time around inspections, they came back to us, about 2 - 2.5 hours after I had finished the first time. They showed us how to properly inspect it, and we had all gone over it about a thousand times in our heads as we sat there waiting for him, so we didn't need much time "re-training" and re-tested shortly thereafter.
At this point the tension was a little high for me, there was no way I was going back to my unit as a disgrace who couldn't make it through frickin Air Assault School, so I made sure I was near the front of the line to get my second chance at the water trailer. When I got my turn I found three deficiencies in about 30 seconds and then they stopped me and told me I was a GO, and to go stand in formation.
The first time around the deficiencies seemed harder to find, so I think they dummied it up a little for us, as these ones were pretty apparent. Don't know if they did it because so many people had failed the water trailer or what, but I think most people (if not all) who failed the water trailer last time passed it this time.
After that we did clean up and were released at about 1400.
8 JUNE 05
The morning began with a late formation at 0755 HRS. We didn't do any PT, but instead moved straight into our rappelling phase. We began by moving out in four groups to the four (one for each group), twelve foot slanted rappelling platforms. We were given a block of instruction on how to properly tie a "Swiss seat" and the "new uniform" during this phase. After learning to tie a Swiss seat, and how to properly hook up to the rappelling rope, we all were run through the twelve foot ramp style platforms, each taking a turn walking/rappelling down them.
After everyone had completed this, we moved on to a falling drill (on the same 12' platforms) where one rappeller would let go of his or her ropes and begin to fall, and the person at the bottom (I forget what they were called), had to put enough tension on the rope to stop the rappeller's descent.
By this time it was about 1130 HRS, and we moved out over to the tower where we received the "Double Zero" Tower Brief, where we learned what to do and what not to do when rappelling from the 34' tower. After sitting there in the rain watching this brief (which was quite comical), we were released for lunch at about 1155 HRS and were told to be back in formation at 1255 HRS.
When we all came back from lunch, it was time to take on the tower. Now I had done this once before in Basic Training, and I'm on Jump status, but I still have a fear of heights, one that I thought I was pretty much over. When it was my turn to rappel off that thing, I found myself being nervous, which kind of surprised me since I jump out of Aircraft on a regular basis. My first rappel was a little shaky and I kept forgetting to fully extend my break arm when jumping away from the tower so I didn't get very far on most of my bounces. After that you run up and relieve the person at the bottom of the tower to make sure the next rappeller doesn't bite the dust. After you've been relieved by the next rappeller coming down the rope, you move out and go back up the tower for your second turn. My second rappel was a lot better, I wasn't as nervous, had a lot more confidence and felt more comfortable doing it, which helped me perform much better this time.
When everyone had successfully made two rappels from the 34' tower wall, we moved on to fast roping. Fast Roping is pretty much sliding down a much thicker rope, trying to get your body in an "L" shape position with the insides of your feet pushing against the rope into each other to slow your decent.
First we had to fast rope down a 12' platform, which no one seemed to have a problem with, but also made everyone realize how slick that rope is. After that we had to do the same thing, only this time we had to lock ourselves in place on the rope and form a "tear drop" position with our bodies. After coming to a complete stop we had to count out, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and when the instructor told us to do so, lower ourselves and combat roll away from the rope, so as to not get hit by the person above you. If you were unable to hold yourself up, you got two more chances to do it. If you couldn't do it after three tries, you were a NO-GO and were not allowed to fast rope down the 34 foot tower which is a graduation requirement, and were dropped from class. We had about 10 people who couldn't seem to get it and got dropped from class, luckily I was a first time GO in this event.
For those of us who qualified on the teardrop lock and hold, we moved back up to the top of the 34' tower and began fast roping down the tower. Some people were scared and I was even a little nervous, but to the best of my knowledge everyone completed it.
We all got in formation and then were told to form a few circles and began some drills, practicing our Swiss seats for about 20 minutes, after which we were released for the day, at about 1530 HRS.
The weather couldn't make up it's mind if it wanted to be blazing hot or pouring down rain, but other then that it wasn't a bad day, and was actually pretty fun.
9 JUNE 05
Started the morning out at 0555 HRS for PT formation. We ran 4 miles and again I got to call cadence and even got another +5 points for it, so I'm up to +10 now.
We got back and got smoked for "not sounding off loud enough", but I think they were gonna smoked us regardless. We ended up getting released about 0715-0730, and were told to be back at 0825 to start the rest of our Day 8 training.
When we got back, we got a brief on free wall rappelling and went straight into it. We started out with a "Hollywood" style three brake rappel, a "Hollywood" style "lock-in" rappel, and then a three brake combat rappel.
Then we broke for lunch at about 1100 HRS, and didn't have to be back until 1325 HRS, because some tour of the school was going on. I don't know who they were but I'm guessing some politicians or something, because they even let these people rappel.
Anyway, when we got back we did a "Combat" style "lock in" rappel and after that, one of our choice. I chose a Hollywood, three-brake rappel.
After everyone had completed these rappels, we did some 90 second Swiss seat drills, then moved on to sing the 101st song, which we apparently didn't sing well enough, because we got smoked for it. Tried it again and they seemed satisfied and released everyone.
My squad was chosen for clean up duty and after doing clean up was released at about 1545 HRS.
Tomorrow is the big day. We're supposed to get 3 graded rappels from the Blackhawk, and be graded on our 90 second max Swiss seat tying test. Wish me luck!
10 JUNE 05
Well we began the day with a 0625 PT formation and did muscle failure PT. Push Ups, flutter kicks, mountain climbers and overhead arm claps.
After we were done with PT at approx. 0730, we were released until 0855 to get showered/etc. Today was test day, so when we came back we went straight into our swiss seat test. We had to tie our Swiss seats in 90 seconds or less, then you would get inspected and if you had correctly tied your Swiss seat, you moved on to the 34' tower to begin the repelling portion of Test Day.
If you didn't get your Swiss seat tied in time, or had it tied incorrectly, you were re-trained and re-tested, if you failed the re-test you were dropped from class. Luckily, even though my rope was just barely long enough to tie a correct swiss seat on someone my size, I was a first time GO and got to go straight into the repelling portion.
The repelling portion began with a hollywood lock in repel. I passed this with no gigs. Then a hollywood three brake repel, and after that a combat three brake repel, which I also passed with no gigs.
You could get 2 minor gigs per event and still pass each event. Three minor gigs or one major gig automatically makes you an automatic NO-GO. If you were a NO-GO in any of these events, you had one more opportunity to try it again. If you failed the second time around, you were dropped from class.
After everyone was done, we broke for lunch at about 1100 HRS until 1225 HRS, when we came back we moved off to the mock up and did the Air Assault version of SAT (Sustained Airborne Training), where they went over actions in the aircraft, emergency procedures, etc.
After we were done with that, we once again tied our Swiss seats, were inspected and got in line waiting for our turn to repel from the Blackhawk’s. We each got two repels from the birds, one hollywood and one combat equipped, but both were three brake repels. The aircraft repels weren't graded, so they were pretty much just for fun I think.
I did pretty well on the Hollywood repel, although it is a little more difficult to keep your brake hand behind your back as the aircraft rises and the persons on the ground constantly forget to keep a loose grip on the ropes and the rotor wash pushing down on the ropes. I don't think the rotor wash was too bad, just the people on the ground holding a death grip on those ropes, until they realized they were fucking the guy trying to get into his L-Shape to start his repel.
The combat equipped repel was a lot harder to do out of the bird then it was off of the tower, I ended up doing what they call a "possum" and pretty much fell out of the aircraft backwards with my feat still in there, luckily I still had a grip on my brake and wasn't going anywhere. The instructor checked to make sure my D-ring (or whatever it's called) hadn't become inverted and then kicked my feet out of the aircraft helping me become upright once again hang from the repelling rope. I began my descent and found it much harder to control, so I said screw it and went for broke with one big repel.. until I felt my side starting to burn like hell, at which point I brake hard and came to a stop. I took a second to say "FUCK that hurt" and went the rest of the way down.
After you were done with both repels out of the Aircraft you de-rigged and went to sit in the break area until everyone else was done. When everyone finally got there, the instructors showed us our certifcates for the course and had us inspect them, making sure our names/ranks etc, were spelled correctly. Then we passed them back, conducted clean up, fell in on our gear, sang the 101st song one more time, and were released at about 1545 HRS.
That was a pretty fun day, I think it was the best day in the entire course.
Monday morning we have to be there at 0310 HRS for our 12 mile road march and then graduation at 1100 HRS.
13 JUNE 05
The morning began at 0310. We were brought inside the classroom for our 12 mile road march brief. The route was the same as the six mile road march, except we did it twice. Out the Air Assault arches, through the parking lot, turned left on Air Assault Street, made another left on Range Road, all the way down to Cav Country, where we made a left onto a sidewalk parallel with whatever the name of that road is (I'll update this when I remember what the name of that road is), down past the railroad tracks and back. After doing this route twice you were done.
I held 4th place for most of the road march, and ended up getting passed by a few people around mile 7-8. After mile 9 I was in tenth place and came in 10th out of 153 soldiers.
We had 20 road march failures, and graduated with the 133 remaining.
After the road march we were released until 0955 HRS, when we came back to get our certificates/orders and practice for graduation. At 1100 HRS the graduation began, we received our wings, went through the normal guest speaker thing and were then dismissed from class.
I recommend those blister less socks. I bought a pair from US Cavalry and only got one small blister on my big toe after 12 miles.
I'm now the proud owner of another pair of shiny wings to put on my uniform.