On Friday, April 6, 2012 SSG (p) Robert "Doc" Lemon graduated from the Pathfinder course at Fort Campbell, KY. I am SO PROUD of Rob for this accomplishment. I'm also proud to call Rob my friend. We're going to do a little celebrating this weekend in honor of Rob earning his Pathfinder badge.
Rob joined the Army in 2001. He completed Basic Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA before moving on to Fort Sam Houston, TX to complete his training to become a combat medic. His first duty station was Vicenza, Italy as a member of the 173d, 2-503d. Rob's first deployment was to Iraq in OIF I. He has also deployed to Afghanistan with the 2-503d.
In 2009 Rob left Vicenza to join the Ranger Training Battalion (RTB)/5th RTB Mountain Phase in Dahlonega, GA. Rob is currently stationed at Fort Campbell, KY.
Rob has earned his Ranger Tab and his Expert Field Medical Badge. I'm sure Rob has additional accomplishments but he's fast asleep as I type this so I may have to update it later.
SSG (p) Robert "Doc" Lemon in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan
Congratulations Rob! You ROCK! The Pathfinder Badge is going to look awesome on your uniform!
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.
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
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.