News: Osprey supports multinational Marine fast-rope drills
Story by Cpl. Zachary Scanlon
HAT YAO, Thailand - Ever since the MV-22B Osprey was fully implemented into the Marine Corps, U.S. Marines have been riding, rappelling and parachuting out of them as part of operations and exercises.
Royal Thai, Republic of Korea, and U.S. Marines conducted fast-rope drills out of an MV-22B Osprey Feb. 18 in Hat Yao, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
For the Royal Thai and ROK Marines training in an Osprey is a unique opportunity that does not come around very often.
“This was the first time we ever had a chance to fast-rope out of an Osprey,” said ROK Marine Lt. Kiwoong Son, a platoon commander with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. “Also, it was the first or second time for some of my Marines to even get a chance to be inside of an Osprey.”
Fast-roping is important for reconnaissance units because it provides the ability to rapidly insert Marines without the aircraft landing. For Marines fast roping out of an Osprey for the first time, it can be a bit intimidating.
“I was very nervous at first,” said Son. “The biggest difference was the high-wind speeds which made grabbing the rope and controlling the descent harder than I am used too, but afterwards it was easier than I originally thought.”
After the first round of fast-roping, the multinational units did it again but this time with combat loads of flak jackets, weapons and travel packs.
“It is one thing to just fast-rope with nothing but it is another thing with all the gear you need for the mission,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Cody Crowley, a reconnaissance man with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “In the end though, all the other units did great with it being their first time fast-roping with and without gear.”
Even though the reconnaissance Marines are from different countries, they are all still held to a very high standard.
“No matter where we are from, we are all reconnaissance units,” said Royal Thai Marine Sub Lt. Wichain Praphiphong, a platoon commander with Reconnaissance Battalion, Royal Thai Marine Corps Division. “We all train to the same fundamentals and basics. Coming together and fast-roping out of an Osprey is where we continue to grow and strengthen our units.”
Continuing in the series of firsts for the ROK Marines, this was the first time the ROK Reconnaissance Marines have participated in Cobra Gold.
“When I go back, I am going to tell everyone I had a chance to fast-rope out of an Osprey,” said Son. “This was a rare experience and I hope we will continue to be part of Cobra Gold in the upcoming years.”