Sergeant Mathew Pous is the first "Soldier of the Sky" to obtain the title of Italian "jumpmaster"

(To Andrea Cucco)

US Army Sergeant Mathew Pous, serving at the 2nd battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment of 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, is the first Sky Soldier ("Sky Soldier"1) to obtain the title of Italian “jumpmaster”.

The award took place after successfully completing the "rigorous course" at the parachuting training center of Pisa, on 18 December 2023.

"I am extremely proud to have graduated from the Italian instructor course" said Pous, underlining the honor of being the first from 173rd Airborne Brigade and the third in US Army history to achieve that milestone.

Given the notorious difficulty of the Italian school, comparable to US Army jumpmaster school, Pous' path has not been without its challenges: Candidates must learn complex parachute inspection sequences to ensure safety in flight.

However, his linguistic predisposition would have played a key role: "They were immediately surprised by how good my Italian was" Pous revealed, adding that the use of "Italian language and dialect to integrate" they had broken down the initial cultural barriers.

His immersion in Italian culture began in everyday contexts, such as the canteen in Vicenza, where he asked the chefs “how to say 'fried eggs' and other words".

After completing the US Army jumpmaster course just three months earlier, Pous faced the Italian school armed with the experience of 35 jumps as a parachutist and with detailed video documentation of his training path, which highlighted the distinctions between Italian and American practices, such as static line management and pre-jump procedures.

"My best memory was probably the daily coffee after the morning training. It was like a ritual!" - commented Pous, highlighting the human aspect that characterized his experience in Italy.

The graduation ceremony offered Pous not only personal recognition but also confirmation of the deep bond between the Italian and U.S. militaries, with Colonel Antonio D'Agostino extolling the mutual honor in awarding the Italian diploma.

With this qualification, Pous not only extended his airborne expertise but also positioned himself as an ambassador of an ethos based on precision, efficiency and international cooperation.

“Sergeant Pous is a great example of someone who takes his job seriously and recognizes our role as ambassadors to a foreign country” - commented the commander of the 2nd battalion of the 503rd infantry regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Sheldon Broedel.

Looking ahead, Pous is determined to "complete the circle" with further courses in the US and France.

1 The term is often used to refer to military paratroopers, particularly those from airborne units such as the United States Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is known by the nickname "Sky Soldiers". These soldiers are trained to parachute, carrying out military operations in hostile or inaccessible territories

Photo: US Army