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    FRP Marines conduct parachute operations

    IE SHIMA TRAINING FACILITY, OKINAWA, Japan – U.S. Marines with the Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conduct parachute operations on Ie Shima Training Facility, Okinawa, Japan, Sept. 20-21.

    Marines with the MRF maintain jump proficiency for real world situations where they are required to use military freefall as an insertion capability. Additionally, it is an efficient way to get Marines and their gear into an area that may not be permissive for an aircraft.

    “We jump to sustain that skillset,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Maehler, the assistance platoon sergeant with Force Reconnaissance Platoon. “It is a perishable skill set, so it’s necessary to routinely jump because it ensures that the Marines get the practice needed to effectively and carefully land those parachutes where they need to.”

    The parachute operations consisted of Marines with Force Reconnaissance Platoon and Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon jumping out of a UH-1Y Helicopter from 10,000 feet, and an MV-22B Osprey from 12,999 feet. The jumps targeted canopy accuracy for landing on a specified drop zone.

    “It’s an adrenaline rush and a feeling you can’t really get anywhere else,” said Cpl. Jacob Lopez, the jump team assistant team leader with FRP. “No matter how many times you jump, you’ll probably always be a little nervous. It can be dangerous, so it’s important to sustain and practice this skill set as a necessary insertion capability.”

    Days out from the jump, the Marines pack their own parachutes, receive instructional briefs, they go over emergency procedures and practice. On the same day, they re-check that equipment and are briefed on the wind speed to prepare for canopy control. The Marines then make their way to Ie Shima Training Facility via aircraft to conduct their jumps.

    While in the aircraft, they receive time warnings from 20 minutes out and every couple minutes after, explains Lopez. At two minutes, the jump masters instruct everyone to stand up and look over one another’s gear once more. Then, at 30 seconds they move to the ramp. Finally, at 15 seconds the jump master says ‘go, go, go!’ and on the third ‘go’, the Marine jumps out.

    Maehler emphasizes that when in freefall it is imperative to remain relaxed. After taking that step off the aircraft, the Marines will clear their airspace and look for other Marines as they are in free fall. Once in the prescribed altitude, they will release their pilot chute and that will open their main canopy.

    From there, they will go through their main canopy controllability checks to make sure they can control and steer their canopy to the drop zone. Once they have done that, they will fly with the other parachutes that are under the main canopy and follow them to the drop zone. Finally, they will conduct a landing pattern and all land within 50 meters of one another on the drop zone.

    It is necessary for Marines with FRP to jump every three months to maintain certification and confidence, however, at every chance they can, they try to jump once a month.

    “It’s a high-risk military operation, so being proficient in it is important, so the Marines are comfortable and know their standard operating procedures,” said Maehler. “The long-term focus is making sure the Marines safely get themselves and their gear to the ground to be able to conduct follow on missions. This is how we are able to do that – by practicing.”

    The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuous forward-deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premiere crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region.



    Date Taken: 12.09.2021
    Date Posted: 12.14.2021 00:47
    Story ID: 410768
    Location: JP

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