MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines from the Special Operations Training Group honed the fast roping skills of 19 Non-Commissioned Officers and Staff Non-Commissioned Officers from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain training area here June 6 as part of a two-week Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques course. The HRST course emphasizes specific operational needs concerning the insertion and extraction of Marines from tight spaces via fast rope or rappel and Special Patrol Insertion and Extraction equipment.
“This training gives the commander a way to insert Marines, whether by fast rope or rappel, and the SPIE is a way to get Marines out of the Landing Zone in a situation where the bird cannot land,” said Sgt. Daniel S. Standridge, a HRST Master instructor and of Sheridan, Ark. “If the bird cannot sit down, they rappel or fast rope, and if the bird can’t sit down to get them out, they’ll SPIE rig out of there.”
“It gives the Marines confidence and someone has to deal with a rigged-up bird, and these Marines are the ones certified to send them out. It gives them something to use when they get back to the fleet,” said Standridge.
“The most important thing to remember is to be observant of the students and know the area you’re going into.” agreed Sgt. Christopher McCain, also an instructor at the course, “We have to train them as much as possible. That way, when they go into combat, they don’t forget something that’s very important. We correct them if they make a mistake so they don’t make that mistake in a real life situation.”
Throughout the course, the students learn 12 knots, 11 different systems that may be used to insert Marines and how to prepare various helicopters for the jump. This knowledge enables Marines to go back to their parent command certified to operate insertion and extraction missions with their units safely and effectively.
Staff Sergeant Rogelio Loera Jr. is a platoon sergeant that took part in the training exercise. “This is a good course. It teaches you the basics and then you can implement the basics into what your actual missions are, especially fast roping to the top of a building,” he said.
Loera expressed enthusiasm in his recent training. “It’s a good course. You can bring it back to your units and be an asset to whoever you belong to.” Jumping out of helicopters all in a day’s work for a Marine with the 22nd MEU. However, Loera commented, “It’s a rush every time you do it.”
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a three-story series