BAY SAINT LOUIS, Miss. — Marines with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, conducted parachute training operations at Stennis International Airport, Oct. 15, 2015.
Reconnaissance Marines are some of the first responders to potential crisis if called upon by the U.S. Government, and maintaining readiness is critical to completing their missions.
The goal of this training was to increase proficiency in insertion tactics. These tactics provide advantages to expeditionary forces such as allowing the jumpers to infiltrate locations where vehicles can’t go.
“Parachuting is one of our mission essential tasks that we have to be able to provide to forward units,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chadwick Charlton, operations chief for 3rd Force Reconnaissance Co. “We use it for insertion missions and it’s crucial to be able to provide that capability.”
The Marines conducted two different types of jumps for the training based on their individual jump qualifications. These included high altitude – high opening and low-level static line jumps out of a C-130 Hercules aircraft, outfitted with parachute setups for different types of insertion. Both jump methods are valuable for giving them a stealthy approach on the enemy during real world missions.
“Today we were jumping at an altitude of 12,500 ft. which is our basic release for high altitude high opening jumps and our lower level guys were jumping at 1,500 ft. which is our low level static line jumps,” said Charlton.
The training had a dual purpose, to keep the Marines up to date with their jump qualifications and to increase proficiency.
“We have to jump at least four times a year to maintain training standards. Right now we’re doing it monthly for more effective sustainment as well as to get in some jumps for our lower level guys that don’t have as much experience,” said Staff Sgt. Robert E. Thomason, maintenance management S4 chief, 3rd Force Reconnaissance Co.
Exercises like these that occur monthly promote mission readiness and prepare for real-life scenarios such as deployments in hostile areas.
“Being proficient in parachuting is important to the reconnaissance community because we’re often the first ones to enter behind enemy lines to collect information to send back to our friendly forces and head off the mission,” said Thomason. “Being able to adeptly apply parachute and insertion methods ensures that our skills are honed and we have the capability to complete that mission.”
By Cpl. Gabrielle Quire, Marine Corps Forces Reserves