MARINE CORPS LANDING FIELD BOGUE, NC – Speeding over the North Carolina coastline, the back ramp of the KC-130J Hercules lay open and mist from the Atlantic Ocean dampened the air.
The load master of the KC-130J gives the wind call on the ground and holds up his hands showing six gloved fingers. This signal communicated to the Marines on the plane that they would jump in six minutes. Five Marines with 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Corps Special Operations Command from Camp Lejeune, N.C., stood and shuffled toward the open ramp.
More than 50 Marines with 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Corps Special Operations Command, conducted freefall and static air borne sustainment training from a Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 KC-130J Hercules, above Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C., Sept. 12.
“We do this training to maintain parachute operations and to continue to build and enhance capabilities for both low level and free-fall jumps,” said a captain with MARSOC. “This prepares us for any potential future operational commitments where we may need this skill.”
As the East Coast’s Marine aviation component, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing conducts air operations in support of the Marine Forces based on the East Coast. This regularly involves training alongside those units in a variety of scenarios.
“I’m helping them accomplish their mission even if it’s one that may happen down the road,” said Cpl. Brian C. Surels, a load master with VMGR-252. “We do this pretty regularly, and I’ve done it multiple times.”
The MARSOC Marines leapt from the back of the aircraft in groups of five to seven and parachuted down to MCALF Bogue.
In working with the aircraft wing, the MARSOC operators were able to increase their familiarity with Marine Corps air assets.
“We are always seeking opportunities for interoperability between MARSOC and conventional Marine Corps units,” said a MARSOC captain. “This is a great way to do that.”