CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, Japan -- “Lean back and form an ‘L’ with your body,” instructed the Marine. “Alright, yell your name and then ‘on the rappel.’”
The Marine tries his best not to think of how high he is and thinks to himself, “there is only one way down.” With all of his might, he grips the rope and leaps.
Marines with 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company executed rappelling and fast-roping techniques Oct. 23 as a part of the ANGLICO Basic Course at the Camp Schwab rappel tower.
When fast-roping , Marines wear protective gear while using techniques learned in a classroom setting to slide down a rope using their hands and feet to brake instead of a harness.
The ANGLICO Basic Course is a month-long course which shows newer Marines what to expect in the unit and how to do their jobs more efficiently.
“The purpose of this training is to get the Marines on the ropes and give them a feel of what it is really like,” said Capt. Ryan Scheetz, a firepower control team leader with 5th ANGLICO, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. “We did a portion of the ANGLICO Basic Course to show the Marines some of the insertion methods we use.”
The Marines trained in rappelling techniques before executing fast-roping techniques, which was a first for most of the Marines.
“For the Marines doing this for the first time, there is a little bit of (hesitation ) and little trust in the equipment before going down the tower,” said Scheetz, from Sarasota, Florida. “We use demonstrators to prove (these techniques ) work and basically to show them that the Marine Corps uses this, and it’s very effective and fast.”
For some of the Marines, the biggest challenge before getting on the rope was a fear of heights, according to Sgt. Dustin Hayes, a forward observer with 5th ANGLICO.
“Fast roping from a 90-foot tower is a pretty big adrenaline rush,” said Cpl. Matthew Russell, a forward observer with 5th ANGLICO. “Especially since the only thing keeping you on the rope is your hands and your feet.”
By leaping off 90-foot walls and overcoming anxieties, the Marines gained a better understanding about their jobs through the ability to use different insertion techniques.
“My favorite part about training like this is seeing the improvements in the Marines using the equipment and them getting out there on the rope and having a good time,” said Scheetz.