Advanced Airborne School
The Advanced Airborne School maintains the readiness of the 82nd Airborne Division by preserving the ability to deploy anywhere in the world in 18 hours by either an airborne or airland assault. It trains selected personnel in Jumpmaster, Air Movement and Basic Airborne Techniques. It also advises and assists unit Commanders in the evaluation of Jumpmasters and Air Movement Officers/NCOs.
The Advanced Airborne School was started in 1947, it was then known as the “Heavy Drop School.” The school operated as a 3-day course in which techniques of heavy drop were taught. In 1949 the school closed and opened again in May 1950, this time with the Jumpmaster Course integrated into the school. The course taught was a 1-week course in Air delivery and a 1-week course in Jumpmaster techniques. In June 1950, plans were approved to construct a 34-foot jump tower on Pratt Street. This greatly improved techniques taught by the Jumpmaster committee, since newer equipment was being introduced into the Airborne. This school operated until 1954 when the Basic Airborne Course was started. At this time, more acreage was obtained and also 2 new 34 foot towers were constructed along with PLF platforms, suspended harness apparatus, mockdoors, swing landing trainers and general subjects shed. The Jumpmaster, Air Delivery and a new course that had been added to the school (a 1-week course on Air Transportability) did not come under a single headquarters. They operated as the Basic Airborne Committee and the Advanced Airborne Committee until 1958, when both were combined into a unit known as 3rd Augmentation Unit (Abn) (Fld) under the control of Command and Control Battalion.
In January 1962, the Basic Airborne course was moved to Fort Benning, Georgia along with all equipment and most of the BAC Instructors. At the same time, the 82nd Division Support Command (DISCOM) area was where the Advanced Airborne School was constructed, giving the Advanced Airborne School newer and better training aids. In 1967, with upgraded aircraft and equipment, another change was made in the courses conducted. At this time, the Air Delivery and Air Transportability courses were combined into a single course known as “Air Movement Operations.” This course was 2 weeks in duration. The Jumpmaster course was also changed from a 1-week course to a 2-week course. The Advanced Airborne School could accommodate 50 students in the Air Movement course and 60 in the Jumpmaster course.
In April 1982, with better equipment and newer technology more changes were made in the course conducted. The AMC Load Planners class, which was taught as part of the Air Movement Course, was expanded from 2.5 days to one week, thus creating a new 3 week Air Movement course, producing better qualified unit Air Movements Officers/NCOs. Additionally beginning in FY83, the Jumpmaster Course was expanded from a seating capacity of 60 students to 70 students per course.
In October of 1983 the Advanced Airborne School Cadre was increased from 1 and 19 to 1 and 24 in order to accommodate a new program, MC1-1B reinforcement training. This course was designed to better familiarize the new paratrooper in the proper techniques applicable to the MC1-1B parachute.
In December of 1991, the AAS cadre accepted the first instructors from the XVIII Airborne Corps. Upon completion of their training the JM class size was increased from 70 to 80 students with the additional slots going the XVIII Airborne Corps students. SGT J. J. Little was the first instructor from XVIII Airborne Corps. In June of 1992 the first female instructor, SGT Genota Brown, became a Blackhat. She served as an instructor on the AMO Committee.
In March 1994, the United States Army Air Force certified the Air Movement Operations Committee to teach the Load Planners course. The Air Movement course was then increased to 13 days with all aspects of Air Movement being taught at the Advanced Airborne School. In November 1994, the DZSTL procedures were added to Jumpmaster School. This enabled the 82nd Airborne Division to certify it’s Jumpmasters to serve in all aspects of Airborne Operations. March of 1995, the first female Jumpmaster Instructor was SFC Jan Garcia. SFC Garcia had served as a Platoon Sergeant in the 82nd Aviation Brigade prior to earning her Black Hat.
In October 1994 the Jumpmaster Committee and the Tower Committee combined resources and established a new training facility on Taylor Street. The 34 foot towers were moved from their Longstreet location along with all Tower committee assets. The Jumpmaster School moved from it’s original location at Green Ramp to the new AAS training site at Taylor Street. The combining of the Jumpmaster Committee and Tower Committee resulted in more resourceful teaching procedures.
The mission of the Advanced Airborne School has also been to conduct refresher courses for airborne elements returning from combat deployments as part of the Global War on Terror, especially elements of the 82nd Airborne Division, to help return them to ready status for their traditional rapid response mission. In 2003, instructors deployed to Camp Falcon in Iraq to assist elements of the 2nd Brigade in refreshing their skills pending redeployment back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In March 2008 instructors from the Advanced Airborne School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina were sent to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan to conduct a Jumpmaster Refresher Course for members of the 82nd Airborne Division who were preparing to return from their 15 month deployment.
In June 2008 instructors deployed for a similar mission to Contingency Operating Base Adder in Iraq, again in support of elements of the 82nd Airborne Division.