The Charles DeGlopper Air Assault School has a proven record for success in leadership, teamwork and attention to detail. When the school is not in a class cycle, it dedicates resources to cultivate and maintain the rappelling skillsets of its cadre. On Feb. 19, instructors conducted internal sustainment training at the school’s obstacle course and tower by Pike Field.
“We are doing some tactical rappelling during the day, and then for the evening, we will be night repelling,” said Lt. Jessica Deaton, rappel safety officer and executive officer for the DeGlopper Air Assault School. “You have to do your sustainment training and make sure all of your equipment works. We do our night rappelling at All-American DZ, from two UH-60 Black Hawks.”
This particular round of sustainment training did not involve students, just a core group of the most advanced instructors rappelling to hone and validate their tactical proficiencies. Typically, 14 NCOs comprise the team, including air assault instructors rappelling, the commander leading rappel master duties and the rappel safety officer providing overwatch.
“The Soldiers rappelling today are skilled cadre. We have aircraft helping to recertify a couple of pilots in the Combined Arms Training (CAT). We are training together, the pilots are getting some extra training and we are also getting some extra advanced rappelling,” Deaton said.
The school’s purpose is to discipline Soldiers in the conduct of air assault, sling load and rappelling operations from an aircraft. The instructors teach air assault, rappel master and Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES) master courses.
“Right now, we are doing some combat rappels into the wheel line,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Jones from the 503rd Military Police Battalion, 65th MP Company.
“I am here to provide operational support at the air assault school.”
Jones said, in training, they want to make sure that every time they go out to rappel, they descend down and do three controlled breaks off the towers, followed by rappelling beyond the lock end.
Sustainment training requires the Soldiers to perform two variations of rappel — combat and hollywood — to demonstrate readiness.
“When the Soldiers perform rappels with a backpack and they are carrying a weapon, that is called a combat rappel,” Deaton said. “Hollywood rappels are when the Soldiers are not wearing equipment.”
Most rappels performed in sustainment training from an aircraft are done to simulate a combat situation, so Soldiers are required to rappel in their full tactical gear.
“Today has been a fun day out here. You can see the advancement in the instructors rappelling. There is leadership, self-confidence and an aggressive spirit,” said Capt. Joseph Adams, rappel master, DeGlopper Air Assault School.