Iowa Soldiers Complete Air Assault Course - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowa Soldiers Complete Air Assault Course

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Addie Olson


The rain on Wednesday morning didn't stop a group of Army National Guard soldiers from Black Hawk training.

Rappelling out of a helicopter might not seem like a good idea in slick conditions, but soldiers at Camp Dodge didn't mind.

Most of them said the rain was the last thing they were worried about - which is a good thing - because when it comes to jumping out of a helicopter, it's all about confidence.

"We get some nervous ones, some people freak out, some people forget what they learned early this morning or yesterday and might make a mistake," said Cpl. Carson Cole, one of the session's instructors. "But everybody does pretty good."

Soldiers from Iowa and Minnesota completed the Black Hawk training as part of a ten day Air Assault course.

"Places like Afghanistan where you have a lot of mountainous terrain, it just helps out a lot where you can get in quickly and get out and it gives an element of surprise and it lengthens the battlefield overall for us," said soldier Steven Russell of Cedar Rapids.

The final challenge is a 12 mile run that takes place tomorrow. Soldiers have to carry 50 lbs. of gear and complete the run in under three hours. If they're able to do that, they graduate the Air Assault training, and make it one step closer to the real goal:

"This is basically practice and all you can hope for is that you get to put it in at the game," Russell explained. "Which would be going overseas and getting to actually utilize your training."

Out of about 230 soldiers that started the course, only 160 made it through to the helicopter training on Wednesday.

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