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Johnston, IA – 19 year old Dmonte Aursby is looking to follow in his family’s footsteps.
“I joined the military because my grandfather was a big influence on me and also to help pay for school. I really like the Army so I wanted to join,” said Aursby.
Aursby is originally from Georgia, but made his way to forest city to attend Waldorf College as a wrestler.
And now he’s taking on something even bigger.
“My experience has been great rappelling of course. I’m a little nervous from heights but its been fun. A lot of sling loads, it was all good. Pretty much, attention to detail is what I’ve really learned here,” said Aursby.
Aursby and his fellow comrades are going up more than 70 feet in the air in a Blackhawk helicopter and then rappelling down.
“The only thing I’m nervous about is once we’re on the helicopter that initial stepping off the edge and getting ready to rappel out,” said Aursby.
And that’s where Air Assault Instructor Lyarnell Harris steps in.
He says this type of training will take these soldiers to a new place in the military.
“We hope that the training that they receive they’ll become a future air assault Operation or swing load operation. That they can perform these duties well and to the expertise,” said Aursby.
And he says, while it can be a daunting task to complete the training mission, it does get a little easier as it goes, because there’s really no choice.
Especially because once the soldiers get up in the helicopter, they realize there’s no turning back.
“Well you see a lot of relief from them and when they come their second time to rappel or third, their much more relax, and they actually have fun with it,” said Harris.
Something Aursby agrees with.
“It was great, it was fun. It went by fast. Kind of burnt my finger a little bit, but it was real fun,” said Aursby.
But come Friday all their hard work will be paying off.
On the day of their graduation, their final phase will have them crossing that stage with honor.
After two weeks of training, come Friday these Iowa and Minnesota soldiers will be graduating.
Their final task will be on 12 mile road march Friday morning before the ceremony.
Master Sergeant, Nicholas Jedlicka, is one of many that helped these troops get here.
And he couldn’t be more proud.
“Well I take a lot of pride in it because I’ve been doing a lot of the work to get this going so its nice for me to see we’re going to graduate so many soldiers,” said Jedlicka.
Those participating were trained by U.S. Army soldiers from the Warrior Training Center in Fort Benning, Georgia.