News: Pararescue airmen train with Coast Guard
Story by Airman 1st Class Jackie Sanders
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Coast Guardsmen in association with Alaska Air National Guard 212th Rescue Squadron pararescue airmen performed a jump training exercise, June 23, at Joint Base-Elmendorf-Richardson's Malamute Drop Zone.
The training was in anticipation of the upcoming July exercise at Barrow, Alaska, where pararescuemen will exit Coast Guard C-130 Hercules and land in stationed Coast Guard boats to practice arctic rescues.
During the exercise, Alaska Air National Guard pararescuemen practiced rescue jumping, equipment drops and equipment and retrieval procedures.
"Today we're following a quad package today, which is an ATV that we can drop to get aid in the rescue of survivors on the ground," said Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. John Lane, 212th Rescue Squadron.
The National Guard executed two different jumps during the training. The first jump took place at a lower altitude and was a static jump, meaning the pararescuemens' parachute was connected to a cable in the aircraft, which would automatically deploy their parachute when they exited the aircraft.
"A static line is effectively a line to the aircraft that hooks onto our parachute bag and, as we leave the aircraft, the bag and the line stay attached to the aircraft," Lane said. "We're going to be 15 feet outside of the aircraft before our main parachute's pulled, so we'll be well clear of the aircraft and into the relative winds before our parachute comes out. We only fall about 40 to 50 feet before our main parachute comes out."
When most people think of jumping, they think back to old cartoons where the character will pull the cord to release their chute, but a static line jump differs from the traditional free-fall jump, Lane said.
"Seldom will you find an anvil or dirty laundry in parachutes these days," Lane laughed.
All joking aside, Lane said sometimes the jump can be somewhat unnerving.
"You'll still get that little voice saying, 'Oh man that's a long way.' or 'Oh! That's not very long at all maybe,' I think you have a different sense of reality when you're looking at this than most people do," Lane said. "The first few times you seem to think you're too low instead of too high, which most people would normally think, but when you're actually jumping yourself you don't actually get a feeling of falling like you would think you get more of a feeling of just a lot of wind and some really cool views," he said.
"I do get a little nervous, but we try to keep that as a positive factor, and a motivating factor. It's something to kind of key in and make you hyper aware."
The team also executed a high-altitude free-fall jump at about 10,000 feet. Unlike the earlier jump at a low altitude where their parachutes were automatically deployed upon leaving the aircraft, during the high-altitude jump the pararescumen deployed their parachutes manually, which requires a much higher level of experience, Lane said.
"The experience level among this group is one of the highest we have, and there's really no difference jumping with the Coast Guard than one of the other services," Lane said. "They're professional military men and women and we've seen a lot professionalism from them. I haven't really seen much of a difference with them than anyone else I've worked with."
The training exercise was concluded without any errors and the Barrow search and rescue exercise is scheduled for July 26.