Special Operations News

Air Force crew helps Marine special operations instructors expand capabilities

CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan (Feb. 29, 2008) — Marine Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques instructors joined forces with Air Force personnel Feb. 21 to expand the training capabilities of III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Two Air Force MH-60 Pavehawk helicopter pilots and a crew chief with the 33rd Rescue Squadron, 18th Operations Group, provided HRST instructors with III MEF’s Special Operations Training Group their first opportunity to qualify in fast-roping and rapelling from a Pavehawk helicopter.

The purpose of the training was to qualify the instructors on a Pavehawk helicopter and to hone their skills, so they could properly train Marines interested in HRST certification.

“It wasn’t much different training with the MH-60s,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Dodd an Anti-Terrorism Force Protection course instructor with SOTG. “The only change was that the ropes were rigged slightly different.”

The training began with instructors preparing their harnesses and dressing appropriately, including gloves and helmets. Then Sgt. Kevin Parish, an Anti-Terrorism Force Protection instructor with SOTG, called in the coordinates to the helicopter.

Once the helicopter arrived, the Marines began preparations by tieing, rigging and inspecting their ropes prior to take off.

Once they were up in the air, the Marines fast-roped and rapelled onto an open field. They repeated this process several times.

The Marines finished their training in combat town where they fast-roped onto buildings, simulating the urban warfare environment commonly seen today.

“Fast-roping and rappelling are both very versatile helicopter insertion maneuvers,” Parish said. “These techniques are practical for fast insertions, rescue missions and supply operations in urban areas, jungles, ships and amphibious places.”

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