4th Force flies in K-Bay skies
By Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | March 21, 2014
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY --
4th Force Reconnaissance Company
Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg
static line jump
Eleven Marines and sailors with 4th Force Reconnaissance Company took to the skies and completed several jump packages on the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, March 18 through 21, 2014.
Fourth Force Recon Company conducted the static line and free fall parachuting packages as part of their annual training. As Recon Marines, they are required to be a jack of all trades in fields of combat and must maintain a knowledgeable skill set of insertion and tactics on the battlefield.
“The intent of these missions was to get the guys refreshed, because it’s been just over a year now since they last jumped,” said Gunnery Sgt. Eddie Myers, parachute safety officer with 4th Force Recon Company. “As a reserve unit, these guys have a busy training schedule when they’re on the clock, so we do the best we can to get them as much training as possible.”
The company’s training began with refresher courses in a classroom setting. They transitioned to mock aircraft and simulated parachute landings. From there, the Marines and sailors prepared for the real thing.
The service members donned their gear and were inspected twice to make sure their parachutes were properly rigged and would safely deploy after the jump.
“Nothing can truly prepare you for when you’re about to jump out of the aircraft,” Myers explained. “Once you step off, you just revert to your training and take it one step at a time until you make contact on the ground.”
On board the aircraft, 4th Force Recon Company Marines and sailors aligned their coordinates with current wind headings to ensure the service members dropped over areas where they could land safely. The aircraft brought the service members to an altitude between 1,500 feet to 2,000 feet. From there, the Marines and sailors commenced a low-level static line jump package and exited the aircraft with three to four men at a time.
“Once they jump and pull their shoot, they have a 6,000 count until they’re under full canopy,” Myers explained. “From there, they just have to identify where they are in relation to the ground and steer to the landing zone.”
The jumpers faced a challenge in the air with the wind as it constantly changed speeds, preventing them from dropping to the landing zone with ease.
The Recon service members fought against the wind when they hit the ground to keep their parachutes from dragging them across the grass and flight line. They worked quickly to pack up their parachutes and rendezvous with their squad.
“The jump packages were a great opportunity for the Marines to practice their insertion capabilities,” said Capt. Jared Sprunk, inspector-instructor with 4th Force Recon Company. “It was great working with both U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps aircraft to get these guys in the air.”
Jump packages also benefit service members who want to attend the Jump Master’s Course in Fort Benning, Ga. To participate in the program, service members are required to have a minimum of 15 jumps.
“This is what we’re out here to do, and that is to help get these guys in that course,” Myers said. “Attending the school would increase their jump capabilities and give them a better skill set overall.”