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Two Maxwell Airmen earn Air Assault badges: you could be next

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger
  • 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Recently, two Airmen assigned to the 42nd Security Forces Squadron successfully earned the prestigious Air Assault badge through the U.S. Army Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. This July, Maxwell AFB will host the next Air Assault assessment for Airmen seeking to earn the esteemed badge.

Last April, Senior Airman Michael Howerton III and Senior Airman Corben Hudson embarked on this demanding journey alongside the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. Throughout the rigorous course, these Airmen and Soldiers delved into a comprehensive curriculum covering rotary wing aircraft missions, aircraft safety, aero-medical evacuation procedures, combat assault principles, rappelling, and sling-load operations.

"I was compelled to register for this course due to my anticipation of a challenging experience, one that would allow me to demonstrate my abilities in a task that I previously deemed unattainable," said Howerton. “I was aware that the agony I would experience during the challenge would be brief, therefore I had to exert maximum effort without holding back.”

The path to earning the coveted Air Assault badge is not for the faint of heart. The curriculum is designed to test Soldiers and Airmen both mentally and physically, pushing them to their limits and beyond. From mastering helicopter safety procedures to executing fast-rope and rappelling techniques, every aspect of air assault operations is covered in exhaustive detail.

“The course's most valuable attribute was the collaborative effort and the optimal degree of competition,” said Howerton. “It compelled you to elevate everyone's performance to a degree beyond the bare minimum criteria. It instilled in me a mindset of perseverance and determination. I set out to accomplish Air Assault, but it served as a reminder that commitments hold greater influence than mere goals. I was determined to complete Air Assault.”

Physical fitness is paramount, with candidates subjected to grueling obstacle courses, timed road marches, and intense training sessions. Mental fortitude is equally important, as participants must make split-second decisions under pressure and operate effectively in high-stress environments.

At the heart of the Air Assault School experience is hands-on training, fostering camaraderie and teamwork among participants. Lifelong bonds are forged, strengthening the military community.

"In my professional career, I intend to utilize the knowledge I have acquired by assuming a leadership role," said Howerton. "Individually, the course has enhanced my confidence and self-assurance in everyday situations."

As warfare evolves, air assault operations remain vital. From combat deployments to humanitarian missions, the skills imparted at Air Assault School empower military members to respond swiftly and decisively to diverse challenges.

For those who successfully complete the arduous journey, the reward comes in the form of the coveted Air Assault badge, a symbol of excellence and proficiency in airborne operations. But more than just a piece of metal worn on the uniform, it represents the culmination of months of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication.

“I strongly endorse this course to others,” said Howerton. “It provides a wealth of information exchange regarding challenges, experiences, and goals that one may not have been aware of, making it a worthwhile investment for individuals seeking physical and mental stimulation.”

Next Assessment Opportunity

Looking ahead, Maxwell AFB is gearing up to host the next Air Assault assessment on July 12-13, providing an opportunity for motivated Airmen to step up and challenge themselves. The assessment will encompass a series of demanding tasks, including a physical fitness test and a 12-mile road march, among other exercises designed to evaluate participants' physical and mental endurance.

Interested Airmen assigned to Maxwell are encouraged to consult with their unit's leadership to begin preparations. The assessment demands precision, stamina, and mental resilience, qualities that define the elite group of Air Assault badge holders.

Airmen who successfully complete the assessment will then be eligible to apply to the Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Established in 1974, the U.S. Army Air Assault School has since earned a reputation as the premier training center for mastering helicopter-borne operations. Over the decades, it has evolved and adapted to meet the ever-changing demands of modern warfare, but its core mission remains unchanged: to produce agile, proficient soldiers capable of executing air assault missions with precision and proficiency.