22 May 2013

New 'Red Bull' Pathfinders Lead the Way!

Forty-one members of Iowa and Minnesota National Guards recently graduated from an intensive three-week U.S. Army "Pathfinder" course designed to make them experts in conducting day and night helicopter operations. A majority were members of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division.

Pathfinders are a specialized group of soldiers who establish day and night helicopter landing zones and parachute drop zones, conduct sling-load operations, and provide air traffic control and navigational assistance to aircraft.

Graduates of the Pathfinder course wear a distinctive torch emblem on both their dress and duty uniforms. According to the U.S. Institute of Heraldry entry regarding the badge, "The wing suggests flight and airborne capabilities; the torch symbolizes leadership and guidance implying pathfinder combat skills."

The Pathfinder course was conducted at Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center, Iowa, and taught by a taught by a cadre of active duty U.S. Army Soldiers from the Warrior Training Center, Fort Benning, Ga.

During this time, the cadre also taught a 10-day Air Assault course, in which approximately 160 soldiers learned how to rappel out of helicopters, prepare cargo loads, and overcome obstacles related to helicopter operations.

For more photography of the Pathfinder course, posted on Facebook, click here.

Editor's note: This Red Bull Rising blog-post is compiled from reports and captions by the Iowa National Guard. Photos are by Army Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson.

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