U.S. Marines rock rappel during ROK Marine Mountain Warfare Course

U.S. Marines rock rappel during ROK Marine Mountain Warfare Course

by Lance Cpl. Cedric R. Haller II, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office
U.S. Marine Corps

REPUBLIC OF KOREA MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER, Pohang, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Marines completed the Republic of Korea Marine-led Mountain Warfare Training Course March 20 at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pohang, Republic of Korea.

The U.S. Marines going through the three-day course are with various units under III Marine Expeditionary Force and are in the Republic of Korea to take part in Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2014. MEFEX 14 exercises the interoperability and combined capabilities of the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps.

“It was a good training experience that Marines outside of combat arms military occupational specialties won’t soon forget,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Sean M. Reiter, an air traffic control officer with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. “Coming out and rappelling was a unique chance for them to learn war-fighting techniques in mountainous terrain.”

Training with rappelling is important for U.S. Marines to be able to accomplish their mission in any kind of scenario.

“This doesn’t compare to any of the other times I’ve rappelled, it was way better,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Maxsimiliano A. Luna, a telephone systems and personal computer repairer with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “The people you have around you and the number of times you get to do it make it easier to learn. You can do it at your own pace. If you want to take your time descending, you can, or if you want to go all out you are able to.”

The entire three-day training course consisted of rock climbing, crossing rope bridges and an evolution of rappelling techniques. The events of the final training day included fast roping and a simulated helicopter rappel from approximately 100 feet in the air.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Jasmine Gonzalez, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialist with III MHG. “When you are at the top, leaning over the edge and see how far you have to drop, you feel terrified at first. It was exhilarating!”

This new training technique provided a mental challenge for Marines due to the extremity.

“I’m not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of falling,” said Gonzalez. “I was secured to the rope, so I knew I would be fine.”

The U.S. Marines enjoyed their time learning the ways of mountain warfare but even more so learning and interacting with the ROK Marines.

“It was clear the Marines had a good time,” said Reiter. “The ROK Marines were more than willing to train us in mountain warfare and were always professional. I think the junior Marines recognized that and were very appreciative of it.”

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