Events

October 11, 2012

Lejuene parachute riggers drop in on WTI training

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Story by Lance Cpl. Zac Scanlon
Desert Warrior Staff
Photo by Lance Cpl. Zac Scanlon
Lance Cpl. Michael May, a Combat Logistics Regiment 2 parachute rigger and a native of Houston based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., looks toward the sky as his fellow Marines parachute down at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct 5.

Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No…

It’s Marines from Combat Logistics Regiment 2 and CLR-27 doing low altitude static line parachute operations at the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct. 5.

“Static line jumps are when a cord is attached to the aircraft and when the jumper jumps, it automatically releases the parachute,” said Staff Sgt. Doug Gallant, a 2nd Radio Battalion parachute rigger and a native of Colonial Heights, Va.

For many of these parachute riggers based out of Camp Lejeune, NC, training in the desert southwest provides a unique educational opportunity.  The great expanse of range space and optimal weather conditions maximizes training time and mimics deployed environments in the Middle East.

Lance Cpl. David Lopez, a Combat Logistics Regiment 2 parachute rigger and a native of Miami based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., tightens and secures a Marine’s parachute pack before a jump at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct. 5.

“The Yuma desert is a forgiving environment,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Cooper, a CLR-27 parachute rigger and a native of Carthage, N.C. “Jumping out here gives them a chance to practice controlling and familiarizing themselves with a canopy.”

CLR Marines are at MCAS Yuma for Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One’s Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course 1-13 which includes sustainment training with the UH-1Y Huey helicopters.

“It’s a perishable skill,” said Gallant. “If you don’t do it enough it becomes dangerous.”

Parachute Rigger Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., line up and walk towards the UH-1Y Huey for a static line parachute jump at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct. 5. During deployments, parachute riggers airdrop logistical supplies to forward operating bases that cannot be reached by convoys.

Gallant also explains why parachute operations during WTI is vital to building their expertise in working with different aviation capabilities.

“During WTI, this is the only chance the parachute riggers use multiple types of aircraft and get to do every facet of their job,” he said. “From packing chutes to jumping and dropping cargo.”

With some of these jumpers deploying as early as next year, practicing all the elements of their job is crucial for mission readiness.

“Our main mission is to support the ground combat element with combat logistics supplies via air,” said Cooper, who has been jumping for 15 years.

The riggers mission is linked to sustaining ground combat operations in locales that might not be accessible via ground transportation due to terrain, enemy contact or weather.

“An aircraft cannot carry as much but can reach a base a whole lot faster than a convoy can,” said Gallant, when explaining the difference between delivering supplies via convoy versus aviation.

“It is less of a risk to the Marines and the equipment,” he added.

Whether it’s dropping cargo or dropping personnel, these Marines literally jump into harm’s way to keep Marines on the ground supplied and ready to continue the fight.

U. S. Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., prepare to take off from Auxiliary Airfield II to perform a low-altitude static line jump from a UH-1Y Huey helicopter for the first time during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-13 near Yuma Ariz., Oct. 5.

Lance Cpl. David Lopez, a Combat Logistics Regiment 2 parachute rigger and a native of Miami based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., packs up his parachute after just landing at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct. 5. This jump was a static line jump form a UH-1Y Huey helicopter.

U. S. Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., perform a static line jump from a UH-1Y Huey for the first time during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-13 at Auxiliary Airfield 2 near Yuma Ariz., Oct. 5.

Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Cooper, a parachute rigger with 2nd Air Delivery Platoon, Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27 and a native of Carthage, N.C., prepares to signal the jumpers to jump out of a UH-1Y Huey Helicopter at Auxiliary Airfield 2 near Yuma, Ariz., Oct. 5.




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