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Fast-roping Marines get boots on ground at Schwab

11 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Brandon Suhr

OKINAWA, Japan - Marines receive the opportunity to rappel from a 60-foot-tall tower at recruit training, but not every Marine has the chance to continue that training and further their rappelling abilities.

Marines with Force Reconnaissance Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, were afforded this opportunity during helicopter rope suspension technique training July 2 at Landing Zone Phoenix on Camp Schwab.

The reconnaissance Marines trained for fast-rope insertions in conjunction with CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters and aircrew from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.

“I felt the Marines executed very well, during both the day and night training,” said Capt. Daniel A. Redmon, a platoon commander with Force Recon Co. “They did a great job staying tactically aware with every move they made, just like they would if they were (forward deployed).”

Fast-roping Marines rapidly slide down ropes suspended from a hovering aircraft. The technique allows for insertion into remote and potentially hostile locations while minimizing the time the aircraft is vulnerable at low altitude and speed.

“The best way to set up your team for success is through organization and speed,” said Sgt. Mario J. Juarez, a reconnaissance man with the company. “When you come down the rope as fast as you can and maintain proper tactics and techniques, you will be successful.” 

The Marines built confidence and proficiency at a rappel and fast-rope training wall the week prior to the HRST evolution.

“This was our first time conducting the training from a helicopter as a platoon, and I thought we did great,” said Juarez.

The Marines conducted the HRST training following 14 days of field training in the Central and Northern Training Areas near Camps Hansen and Gonsalves.

“The Marines have been performing very well after conducting nonstop training for the last couple weeks,” said Redmon. “We’ve been maximizing all the training opportunities we can get.”

Conducting back-to-back training events gave the Marines extra knowledge and boosted their morale and stamina, according to Cpl. Anthony C. Scotti, a reconnaissance man and HRST master with the company.

“We felt prepared coming into this training, and we feel even more so now that we’ve finished it,” said Scotti. “Everyone now has the same understanding of the concept of operations for HRST.”

After partaking in the training, the Marines with Force Recon Co. are ready to fast-rope into their next deployment, according to Redmon.

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