Hanscom officer earns Air Assault wings

  • Published
  • By by K. Houston Waters
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

Last month, a Hanscom officer earned his Air Assault wings following graduation from the U.S. Army’s “10 toughest days” at the Light Fighters School, Fort Drum, New York.

Capt. Evan Amato was one of only a handful of Airmen enrolled in U.S. Army Air Assault School in mid-June. During the 10-day course, 128 service members were presented with several academic and hands-on training scenarios, including rappelling from a hovering UH-60 Blackhawk, rucking 6 and 12 timed miles in full gear, performing aircraft sling-load and pathfinder operations, completing an obstacle course, and passing written exams.

Of those 128 enrollees, only 80 completed the course and earned their wings.

“With the nature of air assault, it’s very easy to fail,” said Amato. “These operations are incredibly high-stakes, so the training has to replicate that. There is a lot of pressure, and it is challenging.”

Although air assault training is not a requirement in his role as a cost analyst in the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, program at Hanscom, Amato believes participating in the course provided valuable lessons that he hopes to pass on to others in the acquisition community.

The BACN program is a branch of the Aerial Networks Division of Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, headquartered here.

“It’s common for acquisition professionals to be several layers removed from what the warfighter experiences,” he said. “To better understand our joint stakeholders’ needs, we must integrate directly with the warfighter through training courses such as Air Assault School. This is especially important in the Aerial Networks Division, which leads the way in developing, producing, fielding, and sustaining advanced communication systems that utilize airborne and space-based networks.”

Amato thanked Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, the former program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, Col. Shane Louis, the former senior materiel leader of the Aerial Networks Division, Maj. Doug Patterson, executive and administrative officer for the 1-181 Infantry Battalion , and Kris Rodenhiser, an executive assistant for C3I&N, for their support throughout the process.

“It was a team effort to get me prepared to represent HNA and C3I&N,” said Amato.