US Army, April 21, 2015 - FORT HOOD, Texas by Capt Sean J Davis, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West Public Affairs — Recently, six Royal Netherlands airmen, all part of Class 006, graduated from the Fort Hood Army Air Assault School here.
The graduates are all assigned to the 11th Air Mobile Brigade based in Schaarsbergen, Netherlands, but are temporarily attached to the 302nd Squadron, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Fort Hood, during their training.
“Air assault operations are huge in my formation and the course provided a lot of excellent training in 10 days,” said 1st Lt. Bart Havenaar, 302nd Squadron, RNLAF.
The Army Air Assault School trains students in air assault and sling-load operations, as well as rappelling, ultimately arming Soldiers with the skills to maximize rotary wing assets in training and combat operations.
“It was a great experience to learn the way training is structured,” said Sgt. Michel Prins, 302nd Squadron RNLAF.
Along with the operations side of the course, the Dutch airmen faced both physical and weather challenges.
“The course was very challenging both physically and mentally,” said Havenaar.
The course included air assault physical training as well as a Espirit de Corps run, all overcoming the challenges that go hand-in-hand with Central Texas weather.
“The first time I experienced four seasons of weather in a two-week period was right here at Fort Hood, Texas,” said Pfc. Antonius Van Dreumel, an airmen with the 302nd Squadron, RNLAF.
Participants concluded the course with the required 12-mile ruck march with full combat load and weapon, which all participants must complete in less than three hours to graduate.
All of the 302nd Squadron Airmen and Soldiers completed the six- and 12-mile ruck marches in the top 10 of the class, finishing first and second for each distance. Additionally, Prins earned a certificate during the graduation ceremony for earning the fastest 12-mile time in the class at 2 hours,12 seconds.
All the RNLAF airmen emphasized their pride in successfully completing the Army Air Assault course and stressed that they would wear it with pride.
Since March 22, 2011, the 302nd Squadron has facilitated joint Air Assault training on Fort Hood for Royal Netherlands Army Air Assault Infantry and Royal Netherlands Air Force helicopter crews to prepare for future combat deployments. Additionally, the 302nd Squadron conducts Mission Qualification Training (MQT) for RNLAF Apache and Chinook flight crews.