The air assault school was conducted at Camp Gruber from 1988 to 1994 before budget cuts and military realignment shut it down. That time was one of the few the school was offered outside active-duty Army. The Oklahoma National Guard brought it back to provide additional training opportunities, with an eye toward retention. Altebaumer said Wednesday's events, known as "Zero Day, were an attempt to ensure the would-be students could deal with the program's rigors. "You can't have a person doing air assault if they're intensely afraid of heights, he said, pointing to the first two obstacles on the course. Both are mandatory obstacles, meaning those who fail to pass them are sent home. The first - dubbed "Tough One - starts with a rope climb to a set of telephone pole-like beams about 10 feet off the ground.
Air Assault Badge
DESCRIPTION: An oxidized silver badge consisting of a helicopter superimposed upon a pair of stylized wings curving inward. SYMBOLISM: The wings suggest flight and together with the helicopter symbolize individual skills and qualifications in air assault landings. AWARD ELIGIBILITY: Awarded by commanders of divisions and separate brigades to individuals who satisfactorily complete an Army air assault training course. Also authorized for any individual who has satisfactorily completed a standard air assault course when assigned or attached to the 101st Airborne Division since April 1, 1974.