KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The 351st Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron debuted its new assault course March 16 at Kirtland Air Force Base.
The unveiling included squadron leadership ceremoniously breeching the doors, students and instructors completing the course, and a burger burn. Family members watched as Airmen attempted to complete the assault course in under eight minutes.
“This course falls under what we kind of adhere to in our human performance program, which is the concept and principle of the tactical athlete,” said Maj. Brian Carey, 351st BATS director of operations. “We’re training special operations forces to go out and conduct missions. We’re a human-based weapons system.”
The course includes challenges like low crawls, rope and rock climbing, and jumping over a high wall.
Although the course includes many challenges similar to what is found in an obstacle course, the unit chose to call it an assault course because that speaks more to the “mentality within the battlefield Airmen enterprise and how we’re trying to infuse human performance into that architecture and capture the warrior spirit,” Carey said.
The course is designed to be run with or without full combat gear. Due to the extra care taken to provide safety, the course took approximately a year and a half to complete. Most of the equipment is rust protected, making it weather proof and adding to its longevity, as the course will see lots of use.
“On average, we graduate anywhere from 70 to 110 personnel a year,” Carey said. “Different teams will run the course anywhere from once every two weeks to once a month. We’re always training; we’re always ready.”
Before the students could take to the course, they were given a safety briefing on each obstacle. After the briefing, the students then instructors went in pairs, one minute apart from each other on the course. The majority of participants agreed that the course was more difficult than they expected.
“Having something like this lets you measure your combat effectiveness and gives you a benchmark for your own physical fitness,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Denny, a SERE specialist and instructor at the 351st BATS. “It’s harder than I thought it would be, especially the monkey bars.”
The ceremony not only celebrated the new course, but also wingmanship.
“We work out together, and sometimes we do ruck marches together,” Denny said. “Having this as another option for us to work out together is great, and of course having the burger burn in conjunction with this is a pretty good time.”