top of page

Army Pathfinder

The Army Pathfinder is a unique role that originated from the American forces during World War II. Specialized soldiers called Pathfinders were dropped into Europe in advance of the D-Day invasion to set up and operate drop zones, pickup zones, and landing sites for airborne and air resupply operations in support of the ground unit commander. Laying down the groundwork for the critical steps that would ensure the success of the American military, Pathfinders were the first ones in and the last ones out.​


Read more history about Army Pathfinders.


Pathfinder School is a fifteen day course that prepares Soldiers to become proficient in sling loads, helicopter landing zones and air assault planning, and drop zone operations. 

Read more about Pathfinder School.


Army Pathfinder Class 6-95

By the time I arrived to 1st Battalion, 507th Infantry (Airborne) at Fort Benning, GA in late 1992 the first female had just earned the Army Pathfinder badge. Her name was SSG Hernandez, an Airborne School instructor better known as a Black Hat.


After completing Airborne School myself and awarded Enlisted Honor Graduate in 1994, I let my leadership know I wanted to go to Pathfinder School, which back then was two weeks long. Then the second female graduated, SSG Yarborough, also a Black Hat. ​

As a Specialist (E-4), I was awarded the Army Pathfinder badge on April 7, 1995.

Pathfinder School graduation
bottom of page