United States Army Air Assault School

United States Army Air Assault School

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=United States Army Air Assault School

caption= United States Army Air Assault School insignia
country= United States
branch= United States Army
garrison= Fort Campbell, Kentucky

The Sabalauski Air Assault School (TSAAS) is a FORSCOM TDA unit located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Their primary task is training leaders and soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) and other Army units and U.S. armed services in several courses annually.


Air Assault School deals with making soldiers qualified to conduct airborne helicopter operations. Proper sling load techniques, knots, and fast roping are among the topics covered. The school itself is 10 days long and also features a 12-mile march with rucksack.

The school is located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, (home of the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault). Instructors at the course are referred to as Air Assault Sergeants. It is open to both males and females. The school is composed of learning helicopter insertion techniques, rigorous training, and tedious packing lists; one missing item could cause the student to fail the school immediately.

Courses offered at the Air Assault School include: Air Assault, Pathfinder, Pre-Ranger, Basic Airborne and Jumpmaster Refresher, Rappel Master and Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction (FRIES)/Special Patrol Insertion Extraction (SPIES) Master courses. TSAAS is also home to the Division's Parachute Demonstration Team.

The 101st Airborne Division, a parachute and glider-borne outfit that conducted two jumps during World War II, was converted to an Airmobile unit in 1968 in Vietnam, becoming the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The parenthetical designation changed to Air Assault in late 1974. The Airborne tab over the unit's Screaming Eagle shoulder patch does not imply that the soldier is Airborne (parachute) qualified. Once in the 101st, soldiers who are not Air Assault qualified attend a special physical training program once a week to prepare for the school. It is commonly referred to as Air Assault PT and focuses on obstacle climbing and a two-mile run.

In 1998, a new 34-foot tower was completed and Phase Three began to train at this site. On December 17, 1999 the new Sabalauski Air Assault School facility was dedicated and for the first time in several years all phases of instruction will be conducted at one facility. Over sixty classes are run annually, training over 8,000 soldiers per year.


Air Assault School is a 10 ½ day course that teaches Air Assault techniques and procedures, and qualifies soldiers to wear the Air Assault Badge. [cite web
title=SAAS course descriptions

Zero Day

Soldiers are not considered “Air Assault Students” until after successful completion of Zero Day.


This inspection is extremely meticulous. The inspection is conducted as soon as the soldier enters school grounds. Soldier must have all items IAW packing list, all items must be clean and servicable. If a soldier is missing any item that soldier will not be allowed to in-process.

Obstacle Course and 2-Mile Run

The Obstacle Course is designed to assess a student’s upper body strength, agility, endurance, confidence, and ability to perform at heights without displaying fear or distress. This test is critical in determining if a student will be able to complete Air Assault School without becoming a safety risk to themselves, instructors, or other students during the tough and demanding training events conducted throughout the course.

After successful completion of the obstacle course, students will conduct a 2-mile run. Students must complete the run in under 18:00 to receive a GO in the event. The uniform for the run is ACU with running shoes.


This Phase is three days long. During the Combat Assault Phase, soldiers receive instructions on the following tasks:

*Aircraft Safety
*Aircraft Orientation – includes the familiarization of the characteristics & capabilities of *Army aircraft
*Aero Medical Evacuation – includes the capabilities and request procedures for MEDEVAC aircraft.
*Pathfinder Operations – HLZ selection, marking and operation for day and night missions involving multiple aircraft, to include sling loads.
*Hand and arm signals- Soldiers are taught 17 hand and arm signals used during sling load operations
*Close Combat Attacks- use of attack aviation in a CAS role
*Combat Assault Operations – Includes various factors encompassed in an Air Assault operation such as: components of an AASLT mission, the reverse planning sequence, duties & responsibilities of platoon level personnel during an Air Assault, static load training and a simulated combat assault on UH-60 aircraft Soldiers are given two tests:
*Written – 50 question multiple choice – soldiers must achieve 70% to receive a GO Hands-on – They are tested on 10 of 17 hand and arm signals and must correctly perform 7 of the 10 to receive a GO. Soldiers must pass both tests to move on to the Sling Load Phase, they are allowed one retest per exam.


This Phase is three days long. During the Sling Load Phase, soldiers receive instruction on various aspects of sling load operations. This includes:
*Planning & preparation for sling load operations
*Capabilities, characteristics and use of sling load equipment
*Duties & responsibilities of a sling load personnel
*Familiarization with sling load theory & rigging of non-standard loadsStudents receive hands on training on preparation, rigging, and inspection of several certified or suitable external loads. These may include the following loads:
*M998 HMMWV, shotgun/side-by-side configuration
*M119 105mm Howitzer
*M149 Water Trailer
*A-22 Cargo Bag
*Fuel Blivets (1, 2, 3, or 4 blivit configuration)
*5000 lb or 10,000 lb Cargo Net The soldiers will also conduct an actual hook-up of a load underneath a CH-47 or UH-60 aircraft. Soldiers are given two tests:
*Written – 50 question multiple choice – must score 70% to receive a GO
*Hands-on – Tested on 4 of the 6 loads taught. Must identify 3 out of 4 preparation and/or rigging deficiencies within 2 minutes per load to receive a GO
*Soldiers must pass both tests to move on to the next phase. They are allowed one retest per exam


This phase is three days long. During this phase soldiers receive instruction on basic ground and aircraft rappelling procedures, to include the following tasks:
*Tying of the hip-rappel seat (Swiss seat)
*Hook-up techniques
*Lock-in procedures
*Rappel with and without combat equipment
*Belay procedures
*Fast Rope familiarizationSoldiers will conduct 2 rappels on the wall side of the 34 foot tower, 9-12 rappels from the open side, and 2 from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter hovering at 70-90 feet. All rappels are conducted with and without combat equipment. During fast rope familiarization, students conduct a controlled descent and a static hold for 5 seconds. Students that successfully conduct both descents from a 12 foot platform, then descend from the 34’ tower using the stack-out/rapid exit technique. Fast rope descents are conducted without combat equipment.Soldiers are tested on:
*Tie the Hip rappel (Swiss) seat within 90 seconds with no deficiencies
*Hook-up to a rappel rope within 15 seconds, without deficiency
*Conduct 3 rappels: lock-in rappel, rappel without combat equipment (Hollywood) with three controlled brakes, combat equipment rappel with three controlled brakes
*Soldiers must pass all tests to move on to the next phase and are allowed one retest per exam

12 Mile Foot March

The final event is the 12-mile foot march. Soldiers must complete the 12-mile foot march, with the prescribed uniform and equipment, in three hours or less in order to graduate. The foot march is a graded task and a graduation requirement for Air Assault School. Units and individuals may NOT pace or otherwise walk with a student during the foot march.


*Graduates are awarded the Air Assault badge and the 2B ASI.
*Graduates in the rank of SPC (E-4) and above are qualified to inspect rigged sling loads.
*Graduates in the rank of CPL & above are qualified to perform as rappel lane NCOs for ground rappel training and are eligible to attend the Rappel Master Course.
*Graduates in the rank of SFC or above are qualified to serve as a rappel site Safety Officer for ground and aircraft rappelling.


External links

* [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/20/se.42.html CNN Transcript: Air Assault School, 10 Toughest Days in the Army]

* [http://www.campbell.army.mil/newinternet/unitpages/LzHeli/Default.asp?uid=102 The Sabalauski Air Assault School Homepage]
* [http://www.campbell.army.mil/ Fort Campbell Homepage]

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