MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment, completed the Air Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) course held here, July 31 - Aug. 4.
Instructors from the II Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group trained the unit to conduct operations for retrieving downed pilots, and recovering or destroying equipment and aircraft. The Marines learned to fastrope from a helicopter into a landing zone and work as a unit to accomplish the TRAP mission objectives.
After they disembarked from helicopters, aircraft from the 26th MEU's Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 (Rein.) remained overhead to provide reconnaissance and security while the platoon conducted ground operations.
Upon completion of the mission objectives, helicopters swooped down to evacuate the troops and any men or equipment they carried with them.
Colonel Gregg A. Sturdevant, the 26th MEU's Commanding Officer and a CH-46 pilot for more than 23 years, said TRAP missions are very important for a few reasons.
"It's a confidence builder for our crews to know that if something happens, someone's coming," he said. "They know [the TRAP team] will be prepared to pull out all stops to get them."
Sturdevant said another important aspect of a TRAP mission is the equipment. He said that if the aircraft is recoverable, Marines need to go in there and get it.
The TRAP training continues the 26th MEU's six-month pre-deployment training process designed to form the MEU into a cohesive, rapid-reaction force. The 26th MEU will continue to prepare for an early 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
For more information on the 26th MEU, go to www.usmc.mil/26thmeu