US Army lady officer qualifies
In a remarkable sign that interoperability is moving forward meaningfully in critical areas between the armies of the US and India, a young lady officer has passed the Indian Army’s rigorous Heavy Drop Course in Agra with flying colours, graduating in second place. US Army 1st Lt. Laura Condyles, a rigger-qualified officer with the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, a 25-year-old quartermaster officer hailing from Virginia, was handpicked from a distinct group of rigger qualified officers to be part of the Heavy Drop Course at the Indian Army’s famous Army Airborne Training School in Agra, similar to the establishment at Fort Benning. The 52-day course began in early August.
“When I first got there, we found out that the class wasn’t in English. The whole class was in Hindi the entire time!” Condyles said in an interview to an official US Army dispatch. “They had an old dictionary they used to translate the tests for me.” Her saviour during the course was Indian officer Captain Ashish Jha, who translated and guided her through the course.
Lt Condyles was able to assist the Indian Army in training with the type V platforms and container delivery systems portion of the training, compatible with operations on the newly inducted C-130Js and C-17s. According to the US Army dispatch on her achievement, “Condyles excelled in the heavy drop course and earned the Indian army’s Medal of Excellence for achieving the coveted “i” indicator on her completion certificate. The indicator means she performed at such a high level that she is qualified to be an instructor for the course.”