Soldiers from the Tarantula Team with Operations Group conducted airborne operations from a V-22 Osprey alongside the Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 165 (VMM 165), in conjunction with a team family day event, here, June 5-6.
This operation was the first time any Operations Group personnel had conducted airborne operations from a V-22 Osprey, which is a unique aircraft that is primarily used by the Marine Corp and is capable of flying both fixed-wing, straight and level, and rotary wing like a helicopter.
According to Lt. Col. Paul N. Garcia, senior task force trainer for the Tarantula Team and a McAllen, Texas native, this operation was also significant because it was the first time that many of the Tarantula Team’s family members were onsite during an Airborne jump and able to see what their Soldier does.
“It was nice to be able to see what our spouses actually do,” said Toni Chastain, wife of Tarantula Team’s Maj. Brent Chastain, and a Savannah, Ga., native. “It was also really neat to see the Ospreys because it’s an unusual aircraft.”
“Today the significance was jumping from a bird that we never jumped from before, while our families watched,” said Sgt. 1st Class Travis R. Baie, a scout trainer and senior jump master with the Tarantulas and a Portland, Ore. native. “We were able to get a lot of jump masters qualified and a lot of jumpers proficient in jumping from a new type of aircraft.”
Approximately 28 Tarantula Team personnel jumped from the aircraft while nearly 50 family members watch from a safe distance.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Donald E. Ploger, the tactical analysis and feedback facility non-commissioned officer in charge for the Tarantula Team and a Wedgefield, S.C. native, in order to conduct this type of operation, it takes the coordination of many different NTC organizations and the assistance from various military units throughout the United States. Those organizations included: Operations Group Raven Team; the 12th Combat Training Squadron Joint Terminal Attack Controllers; the 416th and 426th Civil Affairs battalions, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Texas Army National Guard Parachute Riggers, and; many civilian counterparts that manage the shipping, storage and finance of the parachutes.
The operation was originally initiated by the VMM 165 Marines who contacted the Tarantula Team for support with dropping several containerized delivery system bundles in order to get certified for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
While receiving support with the CDS drops, the Marines in-turn supported the Tarantula team by allowing their personnel to conduct jump master training and airborne jumps from the aircraft.
“The entire event turned out significantly well [and] we accomplished all tasks,” said Ploger. “The Marine Corps got to exit the CDS bundles and the families got to see their family members actually do their Job.”
Following the operation, the Tarantula Team and their Family Members partook in a barbecue at the Splash Park, here.
“Overall I think it was well planned, well executed and a great team effort on part of all participants,” Ploger commented. “The barbecue turned out phenomenal and the splash park was a nice coup-de-gras to finish up an outstanding day.”