By Capt. Nicholas B. Carbaugh, Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Wash – Cadet Kyle Stanton, a senior at Eastern Washington University (EWU), returned home on July 26th after successfully completing the US Army Air Assault School in Fort Hood, Texas. In addition to the air assault qualification Cadet Stanton received the Army Achievement Medal for placing first out of 62 Soldiers in the twelve-mile road march.

Cadet Kyle Stanton, a senior at Eastern Washington University (EWU), returned home on July 26th after successfully completing the US Army Air Assault School in Fort Hood, Texas.

Air Assault School is a 10-day course designed to prepare Soldiers for insertion, evacuation, and pathfinder missions that call for the use of multipurpose transportation and assault helicopters. Air Assault training focuses on the mastery of rappelling techniques and sling load procedures, skills that involve intense concentration and a commitment to safety and preparation. It consists of three phases; the combat assault, sling load operations, and rappelling phases. The school culminates with a twelve-mile road march that must be completed in under three hours on the morning of graduation. Cadet Stanton finished this final road march in only two hours and 26 minutes.

When asked about his experience, Stanton said, “It’s all about attention to detail and motivation when it comes to Air Assault School. If you have the drive to be there and put forth your max effort you will be successful. Focus on the smallest details and follow instructions given by the air assault cadre. If you do these things any Soldier can succeed at Air Assault School.”

Selection to attend this specialized training is extremely competitive. Those students are selected by their Army ROTC faculty based on an order of merit list. Key factors for selection include the physical fitness scores and cumulative grade point average of the cadets. Cadet Stanton ranked second overall for his class; beat out for top place by his twin brother Bryce. A total of only 0.03 points separated the scores of the two brothers.

Capt. Gregory Benjamin, Cadet Stanton’s primary Army ROTC instructor said, “Cadet Stanton earned his Air Assault School slot for his outstanding academic performance and physical fitness. He is one of our program’s top 5 percent performers and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he was going to absolutely excel at Air Assault School. His performance this summer at Advanced Camp, where he earned an “Excellence” rating, and performance at Air Assault School have made both EWU and our program extremely proud.”

THE EWU ROTC program, over the course of four years, takes students with little or no military background and develops them into the Army’s leaders of tomorrow.

“Joining Eastern Washington University’s ROTC program has been the best decision I have made. If you love putting in hard work, surrounding yourself with great people, and getting dirty occasionally, then come join us! The program at EWU prepared me for Air Assault School in a number of ways, the biggest being our morning physical training (PT) sessions. Our PT sets us apart from the other ROTC programs. We have mandatory PT Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday where the Juniors create a work out using lactic, a lactic, or aerobic training as a guide. On Wednesday and Friday, we have optional PT which consists of various Olympic and power lifts and mobility exercises. It’s some good skull crushing PT and a great way to start your morning” said Stanton.

The EWU ROTC has been training cadets since 1952 and will be welcoming a total of 104 cadets to its campus in Cheney, WA in September.