Iron Training Det. teaches Rappel Master Course

Members of Rappel Master Course Class 001-18 take their places on top of the Air Assault Course rappel tower here Oct. 26. Instructors grade students on their abilities to give proper commands. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

Members of Rappel Master Course Class 001-18 take their places on top of the Air Assault Course rappel tower here Oct. 26. Instructors grade students on their abilities to give proper commands. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

By Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:

(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 9, 2017)

Over five days, Soldiers and Airmen went through Rappel Master Course 001-18 here. This is an advance course offered to qualified students who have graduated from Air Assault School, Ranger School, the Sapper Leader Course or the Military Mountaineer Course.

Class 001-18 had students participate from installations across the United States and Europe.

Staff Sgt. Efrain Ocasio prepares to rappel off the Air Assault Course rappel tower.

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Johnson, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Rappel Master Course and assigned to the Iron Training Detachment, 1st Armored Division, said the course gives students the confidence and knowledge to go back to their units and train others on how to rappel from a helicopter at 90 feet or go off a tower at 40 feet.

In addition, the graduate will know how to properly inspect the equipment and set up a tower, Johnson said.

The course focuses on responsibilities, safety standard operation procedures and regulations, anchor systems, equipment familiarization, inspection and maintenance, ground training and hook up, knots, seat inspection, rappelling and aircraft rigging and control.

From left: Staff Sgt. Antonio Fogle, Sgt. Matthew Griffith and Staff Sgt. Juan Velez put their training to the test inside the simulator. Sgt. Nathan Campbell, rear, grades each student on their ability to give proper commands for the students to exit the aircraft.

Initially the ITD taught two classes a year, but has increased that number to six classes a year, Johnson said.

“We are starting to gain momentum where hopefully we can be doing a class every month,” Johnson said.

One of the students from class 001-18, Sgt. Matthew Griffith, assigned to 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, attended the initial Air Assault Course some time ago. After completing the course, his unit wanted him to develop a training program for Soldiers within the unit to prepare them for Air Assault School. With the help of other Air Assault graduates, Griffith put together a training program for the unit.

“The knowledge I gained, I was able to utilize to train other Soldiers to better prepare them for Air Assault,” Griffith said.

Griffith said he took the Rappel Master Course because he wanted to expand his knowledge base as much as possible.

“Having this advanced training will give me the tools to take back to my unit so I can get these Soldiers wanting to attend Air Assault some tower time before they start the class,” Griffith said.

Griffith said he is trying to expand his education through military training programs.

“I am always looking to pursue schools that will aide in my professional growth and development, not only as a leader, but as a Soldier in general,” Griffith said.