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Thread: History of the Air Assault Badge

  1. #1
    Senior Member Grunt Medic TXARNG's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    San Antonio, TX

    Default History of the Air Assault Badge

    As with nearly all my posts, this is compiled from multiple sources - links at end.

    The 11th Air Assault Division (Test) was activated on 15 February 1963 at Fort Benning, GA. Experience in Korea had shown US Commanders how helicopters could rapidly transport critical supplies and wounded rapidly within theater - now they looked at applying that mobility to a new kind of shock troop, the role previously filled only by the Airborne and their one-way insertion into the battlefield by parachute. Air mobile Soldiers, on the other hand, could be moved around the battlefield like chess pieces at need, along with a lot more support from air based weapons. This was a revolutionary new kind of maneuver warfare - the story is dramatically told in the movie, 'We Were Soldiers'.

    Sam Elliott portraying SGM Basil Plumley in 'We Were Soldiers'. Note the early Airmobile badge worn on the right pocket.

    The 11th Air Assault Division (Test) Commander approved an 'Airmobile' badge to be worn by his division's Soldiers in the Spring of 1974, and I am fortunate to have one of these original badges in my collection.. The new tactics proved successful, and were adopted by the 101st Airborne division, who had transitioned from a jump division in WW2 and Korea to an air mobile division in 1968, and officially became the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in 1974. A different badge design was selected by the 101st for its Soldiers who completed standardized Air Assault training, and in 1978 the 'Big Army' approved the 101st design as the official Air Assault Badge, still issued today.

    The badge is awarded for completion of the 10-day Air Assault Course, either at the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Ft. Campbell, KY or taught by a Mobile Training Team (MTT). The course of instruction is intense and includes rigorous PT, a timed 12-mile road march, completion of a standardized (tough for many) obstacle course, extensive classroom work and written testing, sling load operations including testing the student on inspecting various sling load configurations, fast rope operations (FRIES), and rappelling from tower and helicopter. MTTs have gone around the world - a course was even set up in Iraq when the division deployed there. There's just one thing left to say -

    "Air Assault!"

    AAS Home Page


    Military History: army insignia, air cavalry division, air assault division
    68W4P, 31B4P, 0341, 0844
    24 years and DONE!!!

    "Even if you know that a certain illustration in an art book is from the Kama Sutra, don't point that out to your art history class. They will think you're a pervert." - seen at learnfrommyfail.com

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  • #2
    Senior Member Exo1's Avatar
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    Feb 2010


    Good stuff Doc... Saw the movie we were soldiers, some great leadership by the Col... it seems to relatively match the real battle where those brave guys stood tall and prevailed in a lobsided battle that they were vastly outnumbered in...

    AirAssault training makes more sense to me... good stuff indeed and a great skill to have in todays Military..

    Tenants of Bushido;

    ‘We should never obsess about if we are going to die, but instead focus on how we live as those whom live an honorable life will always die a glorious death.’

    Rectitude (義): Courage (勇氣): Benevolence (仁): Respect (禮 ): Honesty (誠): Honour (名誉): Loyalty (忠義)

    ...ergo veneratio est vires.

  • #3
    Short Timer CWO Sharkey's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Regular Army


    Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran (OIF V & OEF X & XIII)
    101st Airborne Division & 4th Infantry Division combat vet
    Serving overseas

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