Ranger training wows beachgoers

Tybee Island, Ga. (Sine Pari, June 10, 2008) – It’s not a bird or a plane, but it was the Rangers who came to roost on Tybee Island, to the amazement of Family members and beachgoers along the coast.

More than 150 Rangers and approximately 40 aviators of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Army Special Operations Forces conducted a routine airborne operation off of Tybee Island May 28.

Soldiers jumped from Chinooks provided by the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, into the 77 degree Atlantic Ocean. The training exercises are conducted with the 160th SOAR routinely throughout the year to maintain a high level of readiness for both units.

“Although we may not need to jump into water or jump into the ocean, we train for any possible scenario,” said Capt. Chad Maddox 1st Bn. 75th Ranger Regt. “ All the Soldiers have been trained to ensure that they are safe when they are swimming out there and know how to get out their equipment.”

Onlookers watched as rescue boats sat out on the water awaiting the Ranger’s descent into the ocean from above. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Lee, an onlooker from Gainesville, Ga., said he received a greater appreciation of what the Army is capable of accomplishing after witnessing the jump.

“I think they have really big guts to jump from that high,” he said.

The Rangers are provided this opportunity to train for reinforced water safety procedures and to practice water landings. Tybee Island was chosen as the training platform due to the realism and greater training value it added to the Rangers and Special Operations aviators who participate in the routine airborne operations.

“Today is just an awesome opportunity for guys to have a good training experience and fun at the same time,” 1st Sgt. David Bannerman said.

Army Special Operations Forces must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. “Its more than just a training event for us to maintain our readiness,” said Maddox. “It shows that we able to effectively work with other Army units in combined efforts for joint operations and its just fun for the guys to get to go out and do something different.”

The support of the residents and citizens was greatly appreciated by the Rangers.

“We want to make sure that they know that we are conducting safe training and what we are doing wont impact them negatively in any way,” Maddox said. “We hope that they just have a good time just watching all the guys jump out of the helicopters.”

The words of a smiling Bannerman summed up the day for many Rangers coming to shore after their jump.

“It’s a great day to be a Ranger,” he said.

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