Fort Campbell, Ky., the home of the Army’s Air Assault School, brought U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Rybicky, 68th Rescue Squadron medical logistician and 349 other military personnel together to complete begin the course on Jul. 27, 2021. Aug. 10, 2021.
At the end of the 11-day course, many people were cut before completion, but Rybicky was one of 143 people left standing at graduation on Aug. 10, 2021.
“I was given the opportunity from my commander to go,” Rybicky said. “I did my research on the course and it looked like a fun, humbling challenge and a good opportunity to learn from another military branch.”
Day zero starts at 4:45 a.m. when members are assigned a roster number, given a list of mandatory items they have to keep with them throughout the remainder of the course, and required to run two miles under 18 minutes in uniform. After that, they perform physical training for 1-2 hours before completing a course consisting of 11 obstacles, two of which are mandatory and designed to give students confidence to work at higher elevations.
“I think this course is great for people that work in areas that require you to do more than just your Air Force Specialty Code,” Rybicky said. “It challenges you mentally and physically to really help develop [as a] multi-capable Airmen.”
Phase I is Combat Assault, which is geared toward preparing Airmen for hand and arm signals along with aircraft safety orientation. Phase II is Sling Load Operations, consisting of planning, inspecting, and preparing sling loads, and the responsibilities of personnel. Phase III is Rappelling Operations, where students learn how to tie a hip rappel seat and rappel at higher levels. Each phase lasts three days with a major physical training event and final exam at the end.
“Being the first and only one in my career field to attend and graduate was an amazing opportunity I am grateful for,” Rybicky said.
Other personnel that attended the course included Rangers, infantrymen, cadets, intel, nurses, and many other military members.
In an ever changing world, having the ability to adapt to changes and be multi-capable is paramount in keeping the Air Force ready to respond to potential conflicts anytime, anywhere.