AMERICA'S ARMY 3: RECENT NEWS STORIES
SGT Rieman Graduates Pathfinder School
Congrats to SGT Tommy Rieman, our America's Army Subject Matter Expert, who recently graduated from the U.S. Army Pathfinder School. We asked SGT Rieman to tell us a bit about the school and his experiences during this very challenging two week course.
What is Pathfinder School?
Army Pathfinders are specialists in navigating their way through foreign terrain and establishing safe landing zones for Airborne and Air Assault Soldiers or Army aircraft. Many times they are asked to parachute into remote areas, navigate their way to unobstructed locations, and relay those coordinates back to a command center.
The U.S. Army Pathfinder School is mentally challenging. It's an intense two week course that teaches Soldiers how to:
- Navigate cross country on foot
- Establish and operate a day/night helicopter landing zone
- Establish and operate a day/night parachute drop zone
- Conduct sling load operations
- Provide air traffic control and navigational assistance to aircraft within an operational site control zone
The history and heritage of the Pathfinder is remarkable. You can read more about it at the National Pathfinder Association.
SGT Rieman's Experience
Recently I attended the two week Pathfinder school located at FT. Pickett, Virginia. During this period, I learned how to set up drop zones, talk to aircraft, inspect sling loads, plan and execute air assault operations, and plan and execute pathfinder team missions. I didn't realize I could cram a month's worth of material within two weeks.
After I finished high school, I thought I would never have to use advanced mathematic skills again. Boy I was wrong. I used math daily when figuring out slopes for aircraft landing, take off and landing obstacle clearance, and the timing and speed of aircraft when dropping equipment or jumpers.
Pathfinder school was by far the hardest school I've ever been to. We started with 58 students and graduated 30. I'm very proud to be a graduate in class 103-11 and to wear the Pathfinder badge.
Here I am at graduation
Here are more photos of my class:
PFDR Class 103-11
For more pictures or to find out more about the Warrior Training Center, please visit the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center Facebook Page where you can see pictures of several graduating classes going through all the training and fun exercises throughout the course.