Photo Information

Sgt. Samuel Keaulii, a reconnaissance dive chief with 4th Force Recon, dives head first out of a UH-1Y helicopter 10,000 feet in the air at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, June 8, 2015. There were four Marines who jumped out of the helicopter with Keaulii. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Khalil Ross/Release)

Photo by Khalil Ross

What goes up

12 Jun 2015 | Cpl. Khalil Ross Marine Corps Base Hawaii

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii - It’s not every day that someone goes up in a helicopter to 10,000 feet and fixes their laces before they head back down by parachute. That’s just one of the things Marines from 4th Force Reconnaissance Company Hawaii detachment did June 8, 2015, through June 11, 2015, aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.

Utilizing a UH-1Y Huey, seven Marines from 4th Force Recon did both low-level static line and free fall jumps. A static line jump involves immediate deployment of the parachute whereas, free fall delays the deployment of the parachute until the optimal height.

Cpl. David Holt, the assistant team leader, has conducted nearly 50 jumps and enjoyed every second of them.

“It’s a freeing feeling,” the Honolulu native said. “You can really control yourself and where you (fall).”

Holt said that when he ascends in the helicopter he is always checking his gear and making sure it’s in the right spot. He said safety is always the biggest thing they are watching out for.

“(I’m) always thinking ahead (about) where I am exiting or my body position (when I jump),” Holt said. “As you get more comfortable in the helicopter you are able to take in the view and appreciate it.”

Sgt. Ryan Mulrooney, the team leader, said there isn’t anything quite like free falling.

“I’m always a little nervous when I jump but it’s just awesome,” the Los Angeles native said. “There is no other way to describe it, it’s the ultimate rush.”

Mulrooney said the process of jumping is simple. Once someone is strapped in they must repeatedly check the gear and deploy at the right time. The preparation is the hardest part; the rest is just falling down, he said.

“You’re doing checks the whole way down,” Mulrooney said. “You need to check that the pilot chute, the reserve pack rip cords (and handles) are all in place. Checking all your gear is important because if anything goes wrong you need to know what you have and where it is.”

That’s just a few of the things to check for during low-level static line jumps.

“You (also) have to remember to check the altimeter while falling,” Holt said. “If you forget, for say five seconds, you (may be drastically) lower than you (think) and (might not be able to) deploy in time. Missing just one of the steps can be catastrophic to an operation. It is all very (meticulous); even handing off of the rope can be extremely (critical).”

The company is a reservist reconnaissance detachment based out of Alameda, Calif. The Hawaii detachment conducts training on island and across the Pacific region, as well.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii