MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE -- Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 conducted fast-rope drills with the Expeditionary Operations Training Group at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 4.
Fast-roping is a technique that allows Marines to quickly exit a helicopter without the aircraft landing. The method allows ground combat troops to enter areas that are typically inaccessible to aircraft.
According to Cpl. Benjamin Reyesalvalez, a crewchief with the squadron, the fast-roping drills helped the aircrew understand the fundamentals needed for fast-rope operations.
“We go through the procedures of these exercises frequently, but executing the drills in person is always a better way of gaining experience for the Marines,” said Reyesalvarez, a native of Riverside, Calif.
During the training the squadron’s Marines also provided troop transportation for and supervision of the EOTG Marines exiting the aircraft.
According to Capt. Phillip Kohler, a CH-53E pilot with the squadron, HMH-366 pilots and aircrew focus on safety during all training. The squadron’s pilots and aircrew have extensive knowledge of both the aircraft and the role of HMH-366 as part of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
Constant training helps both the pilots and aircrew of the squadron refine the fundamentals in a controlled environment, said Kohler, a native of Knoxville, Tenn.
“The low stress levels allow us to focus on all the details to improve our proficiency and maintain it,” said Kohler. “The Marines don’t have to worry about enemy threats as they complete the fast-rope drills during training.”
Training is conducted to give both the aviation Marines and ground combat Marines experience with fast-rope operations and helps the Marines understand the importance of communication between aircrew and ground forces, said Kohler.
“The training allows our pilots and crew to interact with ground forces outside the wing and simulates conditions they would face while conducting a real operation,” said Kohler. “They learn how to maintain the aircraft while successfully helping the ground troops enter the battle space quickly and effectively.”