Recon Marines fast-rope from Ospreys
CAMP SCHWAB, Japan -- Reconnaissance Marines executed fast-rope techniques from MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft March 12 at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan.
Fast-roping is one of the techniques used during helicopter rope suspension training for Marines, so that they can execute tactical insertions where rotary aircraft landings are impractical, according to Marine Corps Reference Publication 3-11.4A.
“Fast-roping is designed for quick insertion into any (danger area) or neutral zone on a battlefield,” said Staff Sgt. Victor A. Garrett, an intelligence specialist with Force Reconnaissance Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “One day these Marines may have to go into an operational area quickly, so this … prepares us for that mission.”
When an aircraft facilitating rope suspension techniques reaches its designated drop zone, the HRST master will lower a properly secured rope to the ground and ensure it is safe before allowing the participating Marines to descend. Once the Marines execute the fast-rope technique, they keep the rope taut for follow-on personnel by lying face down on the free-swinging end.
"The Osprey requires a very large landing zone to land safely," said Capt. Andrew S. Bohn, an infantry officer with Force Recon Co. "So it's important that Marines develop that insert capability."
Fast-roping out of an Osprey provides a unique training opportunity for Marines because it is different from fast-roping out of other types of aircraft, like helicopters.
“Fast-roping from a CH-53E Super Stallion is straight-forward,” said Bohn. “The (wind created from the rotors) pushes you straight down. Working with the Osprey, the unique challenge is the rope comes out at an angle.”
The Marines learned as much as they could through numerous drills, knowing that muscle memory would be necessary for mastering the mission essential techniques, so they could be executed with ease, according to Bohn.
“It’s easy to slide down the rope once or twice,” said Bohn. “But to really become proficient takes a lot of repetitions.”