Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members gathered Aug. 1 at the Light Fighters School to celebrate the achievements of nearly 100 Soldiers who earned the coveted Air Assault Badge.
The graduates had just completed a 12-mile road march, signifying the end of the 10-day Air Assault Course.
First Sgt. Matthew Vedder, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment Rear senior enlisted adviser, was guest speaker at the graduation ceremony.
“In 1993, I stood in your very shoes. I was shivering from sweat and the cold December breeze at Fort Campbell, Ky.,” he said. “As a new Soldier in my unit, with less than six months on station, I felt a significant amount of pride, accomplishment and belonging. One of the first post-graduation actions was to have the Air Assault Badge sewn on my uniform for all to see.”
Air Assault School lays the foundation for many other professional development courses Soldiers have an opportunity to complete, Vedder said. Soldiers should capitalize on every opportunity they are given to attend different schools.
“The tasks that you have accomplished to earn the right to stand here today speak volumes of your commitment to your unit, the 10th Mountain Division and the U.S. Army,” Vedder noted.
“Road marches, sling-load rigging and inspections, rappelling, knots, aircraft capabilities and characteristics, (medical evacuation) and other tasks prove that you have the ability to learn an enormous amount of technical and tactical knowledge under unrealistic time constraints,” he added.
The knowledge they learned in Air Assault School will benefit the Soldiers when they return to their units, Vedder explained.
“This knowledge will pay dividends … when you are in charge of rigging supplies for a (combat outpost) or small (forward operating base), developing manifests for an air assault or preparing a ‘nine-line’ … to save a buddy’s life,” he said.
“Take what you have learned here these past 10 days and share it with your Soldiers and peers,” Vedder continued.
After concluding his remarks, Vedder helped honor the graduates.
Graduates were as follows: Maj. Nathan K. Friedline, Maj. James D. Miller, Capt. Zachary D. Brainard, Capt. Kristian M. Erickson, 1st Lt. Andrew M. Hicks, 1st Lt. Julia M. Neutkens, 1st Lt. Kyle M. Newell, 1st Lt. Stephen G. Nitkowski, 1st Lt. Wade A. Robertson and 2nd Lt. Brandon C. Schoenfeldt.
Also, Sgt. 1st Class Peter M. Cabanayan, Sgt. 1st Class Alec W. MacDougall, Sgt. 1st Class Tigris A. Stewart, Sgt. 1st Class Tyvieo M. Woods, Staff Sgt. Eric W. Jarrard, Staff Sgt. Brian McFarland, Staff Sgt. Jason R. Mejia, Staff Sgt. Andrew S. Rebl, Staff Sgt. Jason K. Scarlata and Staff Sgt. David S. Tovar.
Also, Sgt. Ryan R. Bourque, Sgt. Aaron P. Chambers, Sgt. Abraham Chavarria, Sgt. Frederico Cruz, Sgt. Christopher P. Daley, Sgt. Nathan A. Harrell, Sgt. Benjamin M. Horn, Sgt. Matthew J. Madore, Sgt. Edward A. Monczynski, Sgt. Robert G. Montgomery, Sgt. Noel R. Murray, Sgt. Stanley W. Tyler and Sgt. Jerred A. Wagner.
Also, Spc. Francisco X. Cabrera, Spc. Jacob S. Cobb, Spc. Cory Divens, Spc. Chad L. Edick, Spc. Adeola J. Folami, Spc. Peter J. Hand, Spc. Scott M. Lisk, Spc. Christopher K. Markowski, Spc. Luis J. Medina, Spc. Devin J. O’Neill, Spc. John T. Pantalici, Spc. Adam C. Perkel, Spc. Dominique J. Polite and Spc. Yuanfeng Qi.
Also, Spc. Marcus A. Rodriguez, Spc. Steven G. Sampo, Spc. Chaz L. Volpe, Spc. Quentin S. Williams, Spc. Brice M. Woods, Spc. Joshua M. Zachary, Pfc. Jesse D. Bagleg, Pfc. Kevin M. Bailey, Pfc. Marcus D. Barber, Pfc. Cody J. Belt, Pfc. Devonte C. Brooks, Pfc. Arsenio A. Brown, Pfc. Theodore L. Campbell, Pfc. Jonathan E. Culp, Pfc. Michael L. Galati and Pfc. Tanner N. Hochstetler.
Also, Pfc. Andrew J. Karpati, Pfc. Rodolfo Montelongo, Pfc. David W. Morris, Pfc. Robert A. Roscoe, Pfc. Garth R. Scheldemantel, Pfc. John R. Schleining, Pfc. Dennis L. Shaffer, Pfc. Mark E. Shelton, Pfc. Anthony V. Tran, Pfc. Corey L. Tyler, Pfc. Christopher W. Vanderbrook, Airman Stephen T. Gnall, Pvt. Zayvin G. Dawson, Pvt. Joshua M. Dorriety, Pvt. Jermaine B. Duncan, Pvt. Oscar A. Gonzalez, Pvt. Trenton H. Lovins and Pvt. Tyler J. Sallee.
Also, Cadet Cyrus F. Acciari, Cadet Zachary T. Ackerman, Cadet Evan J. Conner, Cadet Donald E. Galli, Cadet Travis M. Gordon, Cadet Jacob D. Hewitt, Cadet Molly T. McCracken, Cadet Andrew D. Metz, Cadet Ikrom A. Omonov, Cadet Jared C. Persons, Cadet Johnathan M. Rudy, Cadet Matthew A. Schimek, Cadet Jacob C. Smith, Cadet William J. Tolerton and Cadet Joseph A. Wojnowski.