HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, GA – Residents and visitors at Georgia’s historic Tybee Island witnessed training conducted by Soldiers who serve and protect the nation, July 2. Rangers of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, performed routine airborne operations training mission off the coast of the Atlantic.
Safety precautions were in place for the jump. U.S. Coast Guard boats floated strategically on the horizon, awaiting the arrival of nearly 100 Rangers who jumped from a C-130 Hercules aircraft provided by the 94th Air Wing from Dobbins Air Force Base in northern Georgia to support the Ranger’s waterborne proficiency training.
Tybee Island was chosen as the training site to expose the Rangers to a different training scenario. The training provided a realistic environment that would also reinforce techniques for safe water landings. Throughout the year, Rangers routinely prepare for any combat environment. The ability to jump into an open body of water provides them with one more instrument for their professional tool kit. Army Special Operations Forces must be prepared to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.
Captain Brian Grimsley, 1/75th Ranger Regt. said prior to conducting the water jump, every Ranger met requirements set forth in the Waterborne Training manual RTC 350-4 and the Water Survival Training manual TC 21-21. The swim tests are conducted in Army Combat Uniforms and boots. Swimming out of suspension lines and out from underneath the parachute canopy are some of the tasks included in the tests.
“As the nation’s premier raid force, the Ranger’s of 1st Battalion must have the ability to insert and operate in any environment,” said Capt. Grimsley. “A waterborne landing is part of that training objective and we have to train that task just like any other.”
After a previous training cycle on land at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California, many of the Rangers looked forward to the pre-Fourth of July jump. Staff Sgt. Joseph Pope, 1/75th Rang. Regt. expressed feeling anxious and nervous before his first ever water jump because all of his previous jumps were conducted on land.
“This one on water kind of gets in the guys head a little bit,” Staff Sgt. Pope said. “But all the guys who came in with me had a really good time.”
Family Members watched from the ground as sticks of six Rangers left the ramp of the plane. Staff Sgt. Pope joined the military prior to Sept. 11, 2001 and is living a Family tradition steeped in military service. He said Family support is important to him and what his parents and wife feel is pride in his many accomplishments as a Ranger, including water jumps.
“Today was just a great experience for all the guys to get some great training in,” Capt. John Wall, 1/75th Ranger Regt. said. “It was a great experience coordinating with the Chatham County Marine Patrol Division, the Marine Rescue Squadron and the Coast Guard.”
This was Capt. Wall’s first water jump, and although he had a little apprehension about landing into the open sea, once the ramp opened on the back of the C-130, he thought the view was tremendous and looked forward to his turn down the ramp.
“It went really well,” said Capt. Wall. “It was nice jumping out of the airplane and seeing the beach and having Family and friends down there to watch the whole event.”
The realistic training is conducted regularly to give the Rangers a decisive edge for real-world missions.