FORT BRAGG, NC – Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) from Special Boat Team (SBT) 20, stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., conducted freefall training at the Matos Military Freefall Training Facility, Fort Bragg, N.C. June 7.
“The overall goal of this training is to prepare personnel for military freefall school and to familiarize them with movements while in a controlled environment” said Chief Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Justin Hodge, the freefall trainer and examiner for SBT-20. “While we are in the facility we have the ability to provide instant feedback, so the jumper can improve their technique with minimal risk.”
Initially, the SWCC are briefed on hand signals in the facility, parachute components and the different goals that they will have to accomplish in order to complete their training. Once at the wind tunnel each SWCC must demonstrate the ability stabilize his body without wearing a parachute or gear. Once that objective is met they can then move on to training with their equipment.
SBT 20 Air Operations conducts this training quarterly due to the influx of unqualified junior personnel. The training class usually consists of no more than 30 SWCCs from the team to ensure adequate guidance and training. This is especially important in areas such as emergency procedures and the addition of a combat load. This extra time is allotted to boost their confidence in their equipment and emergency procedures, in order to reduce mishaps and ensure mission completion.
“I feel one-hundred percent confident in my ability to overcome any obstacle I will be faced with at freefall school,” said Special Warfare Boat Operator 2nd Class Nicholas Kowalski, a student of the course. “This training is absolutely beneficial in educating and reducing of nervousness of anyone that is even thinking about becoming freefall qualified.”
Upon completion of this training the members of SBT 20 will report back to their command and receive orders to attend the military freefall school.