Photo Information

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Andrew Rehbein holds the rope as Lance Cpl. Ricardo Monterrosa fast-ropes out of the back of a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter aboard USS Iwo Jima, Dec. 04, 2008. Both are members of the Command Element of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Reconnaissance Marines with the MEU's Command Element conducted the sustainment training and invited other CE sections to participate to maintain their own proficiency. The 26th MEU and Iwo Jima Strike Group are currently deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operation.

Photo by Cpl. Patrick M. Johnson-Campbell

Recon reaches out

5 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Jason D. Mills

Boot camp teaches Marines that every one of them is a rifleman. No matter what their everyday job, they are first and foremost Marines. However, for many Marines who are not infantryman, it can sometimes be difficult to get out of the office and into the field.

Knowing this, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Recon Platoon conducted a static helicopter rope suspension technique (HRST) training exercise and opened it to all parts of the MEU aboard the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), Dec. 4, 2008.

“Training in all aspects of the Marine Corps prepares our Marines and sailors to conduct these missions by developing new and refreshing old skills, enabling them to be a more effective and efficient fighting force,” said Gunnery Sgt. Robert Langlois, the recon platoon sergeant.

For the exercise, MEU Marines positioned a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter over the lowered elevator of the Iwo Jima's flight deck. Suspending the rope from the aft of the chained-down aircraft, the HRST masters were able to conduct the training in a safe environment while simulating fast-roping from an airborne helicopter, very similar to what Marines do in combat.

 The fast roping class was conducted to maintain proficiency for the Recon Platoon's qualified HRST Masters and give initial training to MEU command element (CE) personnel; some of whom had never fast-roped prior to the exercise.

“CE Marines were invited to participate to provide static fast rope training to Marines and sailors who very rarely get the opportunity to conduct HRST training,” Langlois said. “Most Marines and sailors within the CE are limited to the amount of training they can receive due to the rigorous duty schedules they must fill on a day-to-day basis. The training provided these Marines and sailors the opportunity to participate in a training event that breaks up the monotony of their schedules and have a little fun while doing it."

Marines are called upon very often to conduct a variety of missions throughout the world, which is why it’s important for Marines of every military occupational specialty to get this kind of training, explained Cpl. Carlos E. Royes Thomas, a command element Marine.

“As Marines, training is what we do,” he said, continuing, “And no matter what our job is (as long) as it make us more efficient and mission capable, it is important.”

The 26th MEU is currently forward deployed aboard the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group in the Arabian Gulf in support of Maritime Security operations.