CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines with Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, practiced, sharpened and fine-tuned their free-falling skills aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 17.
The training exercises consisted of the Marines conducting jumps from a MV-22 Osprey at heights over 10,000 feet. The Marines also practiced dropping supplies from about 300 feet.
“The (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) boxes represent us dropping valuable cargo in order to resupply Marines who have been gone for an extended period of time,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Slate, a platoon sergeant with Force Reconnaissance Company. “It’s nearly impossible for someone to carry food for a month, so eventually they would need to be resupplied.”
The resupply was barely the beginning of their training. The Marines with Force Reconnaissance Company are capable of free-falling at heights well over 20,000 feet.
“A lot of things go into jumping or free-fall,” added Slate. “If you’re above 10,000 feet, you need to have O2 tanks so that you can breathe. If you’re above 20,000 feet you need to pre-breathe pure oxygen for about 30 minutes.
“You also have to take into consideration the weather, like wind speed, clouds and thunderstorms.”
The Marines with Force Reconnaissance Company are also qualified to pack their own parachutes. Never-the-less, they are still supervised by Marines with the military occupational specialty of 0451, Parachute Rigger.
When conducting the free fall exercises, the Marines jumped with a combat-load consisting of about 35 pounds, not including the weight of their parachutes and rubber training rifles.
With their packs and parachutes strapped to their bodies, the Marines made their way to the Osprey. While many people would be uneasy with the thought of jumping from an airplane, these Marines accomplished it as if it were routine.
They also go through the cycle of operations for properly deploying their parachutes countless times throughout their training exercises. All of this work is done in order to ensure the Marines’ skills stay sharp and the training is accomplished as safely as possible.