News: HRST Instructors lead Marines by ropes
Story by Pfc. Tyler Andersen
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – With critical eyes, Staff Sgt. Matthew Francis looks up at the MV-22B Osprey in the air carrying his Helicopter Rope Suspension Training students, Jan. 16. He knows that these Marines, when they go back to their units, will be responsible for the safety of and training their Marines. He and his instructors are evaluating the stringent application of techniques they taught the Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Francis is the HRST lead instructor with Special Operations Training Group, II MEF. The HRST instructors provide the Marine Corps with an important capability, which has helped Marines operate effectively and quickly in any climb or place since 2008.
The instructors are dedicated to teaching their students how to lead by the ropes and take charge of their Marines while in the air and get them to the ground in the most efficient way possible.
Francis said time is of the essence when Marines are inserting into enemy territory. Every minor detail with this form of training must be checked and rechecked before Marines become certified HRST masters.
“A lot of the time, we have to go into a hot zone and deploy troops from a hovering aircraft as fast as we can,” said Francis. “It’s a huge floating target for the enemy, so you want troops down that line hitting the deck as fast as possible.”
Many of the instructors come from an infantry background. They have experiences in combat and teach what they know in life-like training scenarios. At the end of the day, they have the most knowledge and they know how to set their students up for success by relaying the importance of HRST, said Francis.
“For a person to come here and be an instructor, you have to look at things from their side and you have to be able to coach them properly,” Francis said.
The SOTG frequently trains crisis response teams, the reconnaissance community and Marines with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Marines are individually selected from each unit based off the needs of the Marine Corps, according to Francis.
To be eligible for the course and become an instructor, students have to be certified. Francis said it takes serious dedication and skill to show the leadership traits and trust worthiness the HRST instructors are looking for to make it to the finish line.
Sergeant Ryan D. Adam, a HRST instructor, said the instructor under training will go through a series of classes, such as the basic instructor course to ensure they have the ability to speak well and articulate the lesson thoroughly to the students. The HRST instructors have to make sure the IUT can correct someone, fix their deficiency and make sure their over-all safety techniques meet their requirement.
“At all times, danger is present in HRST training,” said Francis. “Week one is all about letting the students know the dangers of the course. It is high-risk training, and as a HRST instructor, trying to convey the reality of that is difficult.”
According to Francis, like many things in the Marine Corps, there is only one aspect that makes his job as an instructor extremely rewarding.
“Whether it’s HRST training, or teaching them basic infantry knowledge, knowing you have an influence on individuals in the operating forces and how they conduct business is the most rewarding thing anybody could ask for,” said Francis.