SWCS Military Free-Fall School receives Sergeant Major of the Army Safety Award


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice
http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2008/November/081117-05.html

YUMA PROVING GROUNDS, Ariz., (USASOC News Service, Nov. 17, 2008) – The Sergeant Major of the Army Safety Award was presented to a company that engages in some of the Army’s highest-risk training every day at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

Command Sgt. Maj. Parry Baer, the senior enlisted advisor to the commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, presented the award on behalf of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), at Daily Terminal, Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., Nov. 15.

The company, which falls under the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School based at Fort Bragg, N.C., is better known as the Military Free-Fall School and the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controllers Course.

During the fiscal year 2007, the company conducted 31,444 free-fall jumps with only 11 minor injuries. Per thousand, that is an injury of 0.34 percent for an activity that the Army and Department of Defense classifies as high risk. That is 0.21 percent below the FY 2007 average for experienced jumpers assigned to the USASOC. The SOTACC also dropped more than 200,000 pounds of live ordinance in support of close air support training missions resulting in zero injuries.

“This year, fiscal year 2008, Bravo Company has dropped 29,476 jumpers with only ten minor injuries,” said Maj. Matthew Balint, the school’s commander. Balint was also the executive officer of the school during 2007.

“These stats just reinforce a lot about the men who are working down here,” he continued. “It’s not just about the instructors; it’s about the supply sergeant, the riggers and the civilians that have made this possible. In this type of training, safety is a priority, as training doesn’t mean much if it is only getting guys hurt.”

So how does the free-fall school achieve such high standards?

“Safety is paramount,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Spouse, the operations and safety officer for Company B. “We have a safety board that meets every quarter. It consists of the (section noncommissioned officer in charge), detachment leaders, the commander and the sergeant major. Everyone is invited to attend; if someone thinks there is a problem with the parachute, we’ll bring in the riggers and talk it to find out how to make it safer.”

The parachute riggers of Company B have identified several deficiencies with the MC-4 pilot chute as a serious problem, according to memorandum that was submitted for the award. Identifying these problems and reporting them to the appropriate agencies allows units across the Department of Defense to train and fight more effectively and safely.

“We also have the most experienced, dedicated instructors in the world,” Spouse said.

The instructors take the time to work with the students, even if it means working on their own time. They really work on fixing the mistakes the students are making, Spouse said.

“A good example is if a student is making poor exits out of the aircraft, some of the instructors will take the student to the pool and practice the exit off the diving board into the pool,” he continued.

The instructors hope to leave a lasting mark on the students.

“It is almost inevitable that the students will take the priority of safety with them,” Spouse said. “The students know the regulations back and forth and the (standard operating procedure) that is based on thousands of jumps.”

“I have never seen another unit live by the SOPs like this one does,” said Master Sgt. Alfonso Rocha, noncommissioned officer in charge of the basic military free-fall course. “The instructors, we take responsibility for the student’s life. We ensure they read and understand everything before they start. And we enforce it, not just on the students, but on each other as well. We teach the students our culture of safety through three priorities: safety, mission and taking care of each other.”
Taking care of each other at 150 miles per hour has allowed Company B to achieve this prestigious accomplishment, Balint said.


A high altitude-low opening instructor assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), observes a group of students exiting the tailgate of C-130 aircraft over Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. Last year Company B dropped 31,444 jumpers with 11 minor injuries earning them the Sergeant Major of the Army Safety Award. (Photo provided by Company B AV Detachment)

A high altitude-low opening jumper pulls his rip cord while two instructors observe and critique his jump. The jumper is approximately 4,000 feet above the ground at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. (Photo provided by Company B AV Detachment)

Command Sgt. Maj. Parry Baer, the senior enlisted advisor to the commanding general, United Stated Army Special Operations Command, presents the Sergeant Major of the Army Safety Award to Maj. Matthew Balint, the company commander for the Military Free-Fall Course and Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz, Nov. 15. (Photo provided by USAJFKSWCS Public Affairs)
It's a break....mosdef....from the knuckledragger life. ;)

I'm not claiming to BTDT, but I have tonzo friends that went from rucking to jumping...

Yuma is a hoot and Congrats to the Instructors that make the day to day events safe.

They're the bread and butter to this award.! ;):)
Not every SFer is MFF qualified if as I understand.
But is every SF Soldier required to go beyond Basic Airborne ?


Every SF soldier is Basic Airborne Course qualified but not all are MFF qual'd. Many go on to the Advanced Airborne Course becoming Jumpmasters. There is also a separate course for MFF-JMs...


Are SF soldiers send to MFF school or is it a matter of wether or not you want to ?
Also there was that article about 10th Group ODA that MFFed into Iraq, they were part of an ODA that was the companys MFF team. Do Soldiers choose to go there or is it only open when there are available slots ?