After four weeks of intense training culminating in a timed (3-hours max) 2 a.m. twelve-mile ruck march in full uniform with weapon and a 50 lb. backpack, Chaplain Steve Glenn was pinned with Air Assault Wings by his Commanding Officer Amanda Glenn (yes, that's me!) in a ceremony at Fort Bliss April 3.
Is that as cool as it sounds? Yes! There are only a small percentage of soldiers who wear these wings, as they must be chosen to take the course and then prove that they are both mentally and physically capable of attempting completion.
They begin to prove their worth in the first two-week session called Pre-Air Assault. In this session, they are physically trained from well before sunrise until well after sundown, sometimes only getting a few hours rest before getting up to do it all over again. From climbing to the top of a 25-foot rope to rappelling from a 50-foot tower with constant physical movement in between, the soldiers must keep going or they are immediately dropped from the course. They must prove that they understand the art of rappelling as well as the importance of every movement for safety purposes. If they do this, they can then move on to the Air Assault Course.
The Air Assault Course is also two weeks long and consists of three stages which include lessons as well as continuous physical training. In Phase I, Air Mobile Operations are studied and soldiers must learn all about the aircraft and their lifting capabilities. Phase II teaches Sling Load Operations -- this is where they learn how to tie vehicles and other items securely to an aircraft so that it (or they -- sometimes more than one vehicle at a time) may be transported safely. They also learn how to set up a landing zone as well as the hand signals to safely direct an aircraft. Phase III consists of Rappelling Operations. Securely tying, jumping and safely helping others soldiers to the ground is the focus and, once again, a person can be dropped immediately (and many are) at any phase in this course. Steve's class was proud hold the record of 91% retention -- 276 started the course; 215, including Chaplain Steve Glenn, finished and received their Wings! Yes, his proud wife got to pin them on!
Because he was the OLDEST in the group, he was also assigned the guidon (flag) bearer (see picture below). I must mention, though, that he came in 16th on the first 12-mile ruck and 26th on the last in front of all those young guys!
Oh, and did I mention his assigned number (the number he was known by) in the Air Assault Course??? 007! Yes, that's Bond. Steve Bond! We're very proud of our Chaplain and hope you are, too!