By Lee McMahon, AW2 Stratcom
AW2 Soldier 1LT Daniel Luckett, Executive Officer for HHC/1-502 Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Division, recently graduated from the Pathfinder course. 1LT Luckett lost his left leg at the knee and part of his right foot in an IED attack in Northwest Baghdad in May 2008. He is the first amputee to graduate from the Pathfinder course from 2nd BCT. He took a few moments to answer some questions about the course:
What does the Pathfinder course entail?
Pathfinder school qualifies soldiers to be the liaison between ground units and air assets on the battlefield. It is a largely academic school covering information ranging from types of aircraft commonly used in military operations, aircraft capabilities, external load certification and Drop Zone operations.
Were you nervous heading into it?
I was anxious both before and while attending the school as there is an extremely high attrition rate at FT Campbell and the course has a reputation of being very difficult.
How did the course go?
The course was extremely challenging academically. The course curriculum is unlike many of the Army schools that I have attended. While the information covered in Pathfinder School is presented in a largely academic manner, it is infinitely applicable in practice in our contemporary operating environment.
What was the most difficult challenge for you?
The written test covering Drop Zones was the most difficult aspect of the course. It is the largest test, covering the most information much of which must be memorized verbatim.
What would you say to another wounded warrior thinking about pursuing aggressive training like Pathfinder?
To ANYONE attending Pathfinder School I would suggest that they study early and often. As far as specific considerations for wounded warriors pursuing aggressive training, I would say that in any endeavor a strong work ethic and a no quit attitude will enable them to succeed.