Air Assault instructor learns to lead, mentor students

| July 8, 2016 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Samnith Thy, Lightning Academy HHBN, Air Assault School Phase 3 instructor, explains an obstacle to a Soldier during Day Zero of Air Assault School June 13, 2016, at the East Training Range, Hawaii. More than 100 Soldiers, one Airman, and one Marine graduated from the class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Sgt. Samnith Thy, Lightning Academy HHBN, Air Assault School Phase 3 instructor, explains an obstacle to a Soldier during Day Zero of Air Assault School, June 13,  at the East Training Range, Hawaii. More than 100 Soldiers, one Airman, and one Marine graduated from the class.

 

Story and photos by Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity
Forward Center Hawaii

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — After training hundreds of Soldiers as a cadre, Sgt. Samnith Thy says that without a doubt, he has learned how to be a more effective leader from his students.

“Every class I go through I learn something different,” Thy said. “The students don’t realize that but I learn how to be a better instructor, a better NCO. I learn how to actually be a public speaker and I go from actually being a terrifying instructor to a counseling, coaching, mentoring instructor. I succeeded when the student has learned something.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Samnith Thy, Lightning Academy HHBN, Air Assault School Phase 3 instructor, motions for Soldiers to make their way to an UH-60 Black Hawk during the Phase 3 portion of Air Assault School  June 23, 2016, at the East Training Range, Hawaii. More than 100 Soldiers, one Airman, and one Marine graduated from the class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Thy motions for Soldiers to make their way to the Black Hawk during the Phase 3 portion of Air Assault School, June 23.

Thy is an instructor at the 25th Infantry Division’s Lightning Academy, where his abilities as a mentor and teacher serve Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors in learning the details, precautions, and finesse it takes to be an Air Assault Soldier. Even while he is shouting instructions from inside of an UH-60 Black Hawk or the top of a rappel tower, he says he is still growing as a Soldier himself.

Thy said that he takes what he learns and pays it forward through the mentoring and instruction that he provides Soldiers, a form of coaching where he brings back the basics and instills in them the foundation of air assault skills.

“What’s most rewarding is that I know I taught an air assault student how to do sling loads and rappelling, and how to understand aircraft,” Thy said. “A lot of Soldiers that I’ve come up with have never done Air Assault School so they don’t understand the attention to detail. What Air Assault does is it pulls you back in to the Army mentality of attention to detail. It’s the little things.”

The details can be the difference between pass or fail, or life and death during Air Assault operations. It’s because of this that Thy said there is no room for error.

Thy presents a Soldier with the Air Assault Badge.

Thy presents a Soldier with the Air Assault Badge.

“Our school tests your mental and physical abilities,” Thy said. “We’re not lenient and we grade by the standards. We bring our Soldiers to the standards and we never drop our standards to the Soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Donald Castelow, 1st Battalion, 27th Inf. Regiment and Air Assault School graduate, said that the quality of training given by instructors like Sergeant Thy, make the experience one that he will take to heart and bring back to his unit.

“The instructors, the noncommissioned officers they have running the course, are some of the most professional noncommissioned officers that I’ve actually seen since my tenure of being in the United States military,” Castelow said. “Everything they do goes by (the Noncommissioned Officer Education System). its right by the book; it’s indoctrinated the way the U. S. military should be.”

Thy’s leadership and mentoring helped push 111 Soldiers, one Airman, and one Marine, through the latest Air Assault School class … 113 more members armed with the knowledge and skill set that air assault brings.

“I feel great when I go home and I know that I taught a Soldier something,” Thy said “That’s my ultimate job in the United States Army.”

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Category: Leadership, News, Training

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