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The courses, taught by instructors from the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School Mobile Training Team at Fort Bragg, N.C., were held in preparation for the unit’s upcoming return to Fort Bragg, and resumption of airborne operations.
After being deployed for a year, the jumpmasters and paratroopers are required to refresh their skills before resuming their airborne operations. These courses enable more than 60 jumpmasters and 49 basic airborne jumpers to do exactly that.
“Our focus is to get the jumpmasters (and paratroopers) of the Special Troops Battalion, as well as their attached units, back up to speed on skills they may have forgotten,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Walter Veazey, instructor of the Airborne School Jumpmaster Committee.
A jumpmaster remains current in their skills for six months, before they are required to attend a refresher course.
“Since many have been deployed for at least a year they are not current on (their) airborne and jumpmaster proficiency,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Freese, instructor of the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School Jumpmaster Committee. “We have come out here to provide special training to get them current.”
During the three-day course, jumpmasters do a comprehensive review on how to prepare and inspect basic equipment, go over standards and procedures and are kept up to date with the latest updates and most current training trends.
“There is a lot of information to go over in the basic airborne refresher, also,” said U.S. Army Private 1st Class Jeremy Wright, a satellite communications technician, with the 82nd DSTB and a basic airborne paratrooper with five jumps. “And since we’re deployed, it’s been a while since we’ve gone over the material.”
“I have about 55 jumps underneath my belt and the training never gets easier,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Raul Mancera, of the 82nd Airborne Division and a senior rated jumpmaster.
Although some alterations to the course were needed to accommodate the deployed jumpers, the changes were minor.
“We’ve removed special items and equipment portion of the training out here,” said Freese, who calls Bellevue, Neb., home. “Otherwise it is the same training they would receive at Fort Bragg.”
In order to successfully complete the jumpmaster refresher course, the jumpmasters must pass the final exam.
The jumpmasters must complete two jumpmaster personal inspections, one Hollywood inspection and one combat equipment inspection within four and a half minutes, said Veazy a native of Houston.
“They will have deficiencies integrated into the equipment that they will be required to find,” he added.
Although basic airborne paratroopers do not have a final exam in their basic Airborne refresher course, they will also be required to jump only 10 days after returning to the states.
The jumpmasters and paratroopers may still have some additional training beyond the refresher courses to stay current, but the successful completion of these refresher courses streamlines the process when they get back to the U.S.
“When they get back all they will need to do is exit an aircraft to be current and able to pull jumpmaster duties,” said Veazy.
“This training is critical, because it will leave us time for reintegration training when we get back,” said Mancera. “So by taking just three days out of our time here, it allows us to faster transition into our airborne proficiencies when we get back to the states.”
“Jumping, in addition to everything else we have to do will be a lot to take on when we first get back, but I’m always looking forward to my next jump,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Smith, a platoon leader for the 82nd DSTB and a paratrooper with 23 jumps.
Despite the anticipation of a busy schedule when they return, the Soldiers are prepared to complete the necessary training.
“We are actually scheduled to jump only five days after we get back,” said Write. “I’m terrified of heights, but I’m still prepared to jump every time.”
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