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Airman earns Army Air Assault Badge

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MARCOA Media
Story by A1C Tristan Truesdell on 04/02/2018
A missile security operator with the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron earned an Army Air Assault Badge March 23 after graduating from Air Assault School in Fort Bliss, Texas.

Airman Gideon Magrini arrived at Malmstrom in mid-February. Three days later, tryouts for the Air Assault course were offered to his squadron.

According to the U.S. Army website, the Air Assault School is designed to prepare service members for insertion, evacuation and pathfinder missions requiring use of multipurpose transportation and assault helicopters.

"Tryout for Air Assault is voluntary," said Tech. Sgt. Franz Enriquez, 841st MSFS flight chief. "Every two to three months we recommend Airmen of all ranks tryout to enhance their leadership capabilities and gain the knowledge and experience to operate with the Army."

Airmen who completed the entire tryout were given the opportunity to attend the Air Assault School and earn an Army Air Assault Badge upon graduation.

The tryout consisted of the Army physical training test two minutes of situps, two minutes of pushups and a 2-mile run. A rope climb was added at the end of the test with a 12-mile ruck march in under three hours the following day.

Magrini was an alternate during the tryout in case the primary candidates were unable to attend school.

"During the ruck, one of the guys was out and hurting pretty bad," said Magrini. "Sergeant Enriquez came up to me while we were running and said, hey, if you finish this, you're going,' and I finished."

Even though he had not completed in-processing tasks, Magrini was on a plane to the Air Assault School just two weeks after the tryout.

"I was nervous, I didn't know what to expect. I've never worked with the Army before and I'm going across the country for something I don't even know what it is," said Magrini. "(My unit) did so much to get me ready to go, and I didn't want to let them down."

Among the eight Airmen taking the course, Magrini went through three different phases throughout the 12-day course.

Phase one consisted of classroom-based knowledge, learning about the helicopter and what it can handle during missions.

The second phased involved sling loads, where students trained on how to rig supplies up to an aircraft and properly distribute weight.

In phase three students trained to rappel more than 90 feet from an aircraft.

"(The students) were shocked that I was even there," Magrini said. "I think deep down, they didn't know if I could actually pass.

"They helped me out a lot. I'm terrible at tests and I was nervous with the written portion, but I studied all weekend," he continued. "They were very proud of me and shocked that I made it through. I couldn't have done it without them."

Out of more than 160 students, 117 graduated and earned their Army Air Assault Badge.

"I know this helps me out with my career if I wanted to go to tactical response force or different routes - and now my name is out there," Magrini said.

Since Magrini successfully graduated from Air Assault School, he is now certified to conduct air assault and sling load operations with the Army. He is also able to apply for special-duty assignments requiring air assault certification.

"Being a one-striped Airman in the course is rare, especially in an Army course," said Enriquez. "Magrini is living proof that any Airman, regardless of rank, can achieve anything physically and mentally if they pursue their goal."

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