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Drop Feet First: Recon Marines Conduct Airborne Jumps

By Lance Cpl. Isabelo Tabanguil | Marine Corps Base Hawaii | July 22, 2017

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Marines with 4th Force Reconnaissance Company alongside U.S. Army Special Forces conducted static line and high altitude airborne jumps at Schofield Barracks, July 14, 2017.

The purpose of this training was to maintain unit proficiency in successfully completing both static line and free fall parachute jumps.

“As a reserve company, we operate on a slightly different tempo than our active duty counterparts,” said Capt. Garrett Smith, a platoon commander with the company. “We do airborne operations, both low level static line and free fall training operations, about once a quarter throughout the calendar year.”

Smith said the Marines go through extensive training before parachuting in the field.

“All of the military jumpers here have been through a battery of schools and training events that have eventually led up to this stage,” Smith said. “The key for a successful jump operation like this is highly proficient and professional jump masters, and a cohesive working relationship with the aircrew operating the aircraft.”

Cpl. Nikita Klochko, an assistant radio transmission operator with the company, said there are various things that need to be done to complete a jump.
“Doing all the pre-checks for all the parachutes, and just having good position once out of the plane helps make a successful jump,” Klochko said.

Klochko also said the training helps build camaraderie amongst the Marines.

“I like the team bonding, altogether, just going right out of the plane back to back,” Klochko said.

Staff Sgt. Samuel Keaulii, a diving officer with the company, said jumping out of an aircraft provides mixed feelings and emotions.

“It’s a little bit of fear and a lot of fun,” Keaulii said. “The process going through your head of what you need to do and the things that could go wrong.”

Keaulii said that anyone that wishes to join the reconnaissance community should enjoy the chance and hardship of being a Force Reconnaissance Marine. “I didn’t really expect to be doing what I do today. I love my job and I love being a reconnaissance Marine. I get to do a lot of cool stuff. Yes, it could be hard, but that’s what makes it great.”
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