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Soldiers converge on Camp Dodge for air assault training

National Guard soldiers from all over the country are going airborne, with hopes of adding another level of readiness-- in case they are ever called to duty.
Roughly a half million people receive training at Camp Dodge in Johnston annually. The goal is always the same: to make sure people are ready when called upon. A group of guardsmen from across the country are taking that training to the limit this weekend.
"We have soldiers from I think, 4 or 5 states," says Lt. Col. Michael Wunn of the Iowa National Guard.
"They're not all from the same unit. We have cadets, we have some airmen here and then most of them are Iowa guardsmen, but soldiers from all over the states come to the school," adds Sgt. Cody Leonard, with Airborne Certification.
Lt. Col. Wunn says, "Once they go through the training, they become air assault qualified, which is a great skill to have. It's a part for many that is required for their specialty so that gives them a higher level of training and a higher level of readiness. And it enhances the readiness across the organization- to have individuals like this who have had this kind of training."
"It's real. For a lot of them, they are afraid of heights, especially when they get to the edge of the tower. So, we have techniques to talk them off the tower, and we get most of them off, but some of them-- they just won't go," says Sgt. Cody Leonard.
"It is, it's great. We love to hear motivated soldiers getting great training and enjoying what they're doing."
Over 200 guardsmen signed up for this training and by the end they hope to have 100 or so who will make it through-- ready to respond, no matter how rugged the terrain may be.
Soldiers who passed repelling over the tower take the next step and try doing the same exercise from helicopters.
If they can overcome the fear of jumping from the air, they'll be one step closer to accomplishing their goal.

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