Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SSG Tyler Schmidt (Former ROCK Paratrooper) Earns His Pathfinder Badge

Current Pathfinder Badge without enameling

The original Pathfinder badge was designed in 1944.  In 1964 the current badge design was adopted and made of felt.  In 1968 the current badge was approved and is made of metal with enameling.   The wings on the badge represent airborne capability and flight while the wings represent leadership and guidance.

I learned today that, in order to earn the Pathfinder Badge, the student navigates dismounted, establishes and operates a day/night helicopter landing zone, establishes and operates a day/night CARP, GMRS, and Army VIRS parachute DZ, conducts slingload operations, provides air traffic control and navigational assistance to RW and FW airborne operations. Students participate in a three day FTX (I think that means in the field) as a member of a Pathfinder Team.

Specifically Soldiers learn the following skills at Pathfinder School:

Navigate cross country on foot

Establish and operate a day/night helicopter landing zone

Establish and operate a day/night parachute drop zone

Conduct slingload operations

Aircraft rappelling

Provide air traffic control and navigational assistance to aircraft within an operational site control zone

It is my understanding that there is only one Pathfinder school within the Army.  It is located at Fort Benning, GA.   However, the Air Assault School at Ft. Campbell, KY is authorized for Pathfinder training and the Army National Guard Pathfinder Mobile Training Team (MTT) provides Pathfinder training to Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.
So today, in true Army fashion, the graduation was held OUTSIDE in a freezing rain only feet from a huge, warm, dry building.  But I wouldn't have missed it for anything!
Tyler, I could not be more proud of you for this accomplishment and so many others you have attained.   WELL DONE!  Congratulations to Misty, too, for her support of your Army career and those long and difficult deployments.  You two are an amazing couple and it is truly a privilege and honor to know you and call you friends.

Today's graduating class at Ft Campbell
SSG Schmidt, 1st row, 4th from right

The man of the hour!

It's Official!!!

Behind every successful Soldier is a supportive spouse! 
SSG Tyler and Misty Schmidt

Aww...come on, Misty.  Do it!  Do it!

Well, Misty, if you won't, I will!  Time to draw some blood and make sure that badge sticks!

Love you guys and thank you for introducing me to some of the men from your recent deployment.  Being at your graduation was one privilege.  Meeting those men was yet another.

Now get some rest before moving on to your next task.

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