March 17, 2013 --
WHITE BEACH NAVAL FACILITY, Japan - Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 flew soldiers from the Army’s 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), as they conducted static-line parachute operations into the Tsuken Jima water drop zone March 17 near White Beach Naval Facility.
With steady winds and a clear ocean, the jumpmaster turned and shouted to the first stick of soldiers, “one minute!” With that command, the soldiers quickly put on their game faces and accepted that 60 seconds later, they would be leaping then floating toward the deep blue sea.
The Marine pilots flew the soldiers to the drop zone in a KC-130J Hercules aircraft to conduct the airborne training.
In static-line parachuting, a static line, or fixed cord, is attached to the aircraft while the other end is attached to the pilot chute inside the jumper’s backpack, which causes the jumper’s parachute to open automatically upon exiting the aircraft.
Soldiers with 1st Bn. conduct training with Marine pilots frequently to maintain proficiency and meet requirements.
“This was a great opportunity for us to practice our in-flight operations while working with another branch of service,” said Sgt. Christopher R. Weins, a fixed-wing aircraft crew chief with VMGR-152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Even though we fly constantly, while we are in the air, we are always learning.”
Upon exiting the aircraft, the soldiers parachuted into the water, where they gathered their equipment and swam to a safety boat waiting to extract them.
“This is the kind of training that makes everything worth it,” said Weins. “Not very often do you get to stand within feet of someone preparing to jump from an aircraft. It is a great experience.”
With the many hazards associated with water landings, the soldiers trained for proper exit and water insertion procedures prior to jumping. Marine aircrews worked with Army jumpmasters to ensure the training evolution was safe and productive.
“While we conduct this training often, safety is our number one concern before every jump,” said Army Staff Sgt. Steve Mrgan, a jumpmaster with 1st Bn. “Every branch of the service brings something different to the fight, making every experience working with other services a beneficial one.”
It is the jumpmaster’s job to ensure the soldiers’ safety during the jump by performing various group, equipment and safety checks prior to the jump, according to Mrgan.
When it comes to flying and jumping, service members can expect to work any day and time that weather permits, according to Cpl. Eric M. Wanczak, a fixed-wing aircraft crew chief with the squadron.
Jumps are conducted monthly, and there is always something the soldiers can learn, according to Mrgan.
“While the training can become repetitive, the seriousness involved with jumping requires us to never become complacent,” said Mrgan. “Each jump we perform builds confidence in the next, and each time we jump with another service, we better understand our joint capabilities.”
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/103915/marines-soldiers-conduct-static-line-airborne-training#.UUvhD1Fpv-Y#ixzz2OVGeP3Fx