ABOARD USS PONCE -- “This is fast rope, not slow rope,” shouts a helicopter rope suspension training master from a ledge 20 feet above the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15).
One-by-one Marines from Fox Company and Assault Amphibian Vehicle Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Bn., 8th Marines, grabbed the rope and stepped from the ledge during an exercise to enhance their fast rope skills May 4.
Fast roping is used by Marines to exit a helicopter where a landing is not possible due to the terrain or combat environment. The helicopter hovers above the ground from 20 to 40 feet, drops a rope, and Marines slide down quickly to get into the fight.
The training took a phased approach, beginning with Marines mounting the rope wearing just their utility uniforms and helmets. The first time down the rope, they had to demonstrate the ability to make a controlled stop as they descended.
This drill was followed by another evolution that had the Marines wearing the same equipment but completing the rope slide without stopping.
Once all the Marines completed the fast-roping familiarization, they donned their flak jackets, grabbed their weapons and hit the rope for final a “full-speed” drill.
The Marines aboard the Ponce continue to conduct training like this to keep their combat skills sharp as they begin operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf aimed at promoting security and stability in Iraq and throughout the region.
To learn more about the Fox Co. and the rest of the 26th MEU (SOC) visit www.usmc.mil/26meu.