FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., - While 202 new graduates stood at attention to receive the, Air Assault Badge at The Sabalauski Air Assault School here, one officer's achievement made the November 21 ceremony a historic occasion.
Capt. Jason Burnes, an assistant operations officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans", 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), finished ahead of his peers and every other student that wore a pack on their shoulders to complete the 12-mile foot march.
With a time of one hour and 37 minutes, Burnes beat the previous unofficial record by a full minute. The record stood for nearly two years, set by then Pfc.Joshua Evans of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Staff Sergeant James Lee White, the senior instructor for team three at the Air Assault School, recognized Burnes' potential during an earlier six-mile foot march event.
"He took the road marches extremely seriously. You could see it in his eyes, a burning desire. It was a little more than just achieving a badge," White said.
Burnes attributes his success on the foot march to his marathon training. He is a member of the Fort Campbell 10-miler team and runs often on his own.
"Running a lot on your own free time gets you in better cardiovascular shape," Burnes said.
Burnes went on to say that he could not have done it without the help an motivation of the instructors and his fellow Soldiers.
While Burnes' achievement made the day exceptionally momentous, he shared the moment with fellow Rakkasan, Pvt. Robert C. Wall, a rifleman from Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Wall was recognized as the class' honor graduate, a significant achievement in itself, especially for a junior Soldier.