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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
II MEF teaches Depot Marines ropes during HRST

By Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski | | April 23, 2004

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Locked on and ready to go, four Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., arrived Monday and began guiding Marines from WFTBn., most of them BWT instructors, through Helicopter Rope Suspension Training.

The week-long course, which certifies its participants as HRST Masters, culminates today.

"We come down here about once a year to certify Marines on the tower," said Gunnery Sgt. Jim Boutin, chief HRST instructor with II MEF Special Operations Training Group. "The first day they go through classroom exercises, where they learn the different rigs and knots, and then the rest of the week they're out here at the tower practicing and getting a feel for what they have learned."

The BWT Marines here must learn this because, even though Parris Island is generally considered a non-deployable base, they play a big role in training recruits. Chances are that once recruits complete their training here, a lot of them will be doing this very thing in the fleet as infantryman, so it is vital that the Marines responsible for training the future of the Corps are thoroughly trained in their field.

"It's good to know, not only for my own knowledge, but to pass it on to recruits," said Cpl. Jacky Brun, range coach at Khe Sanh Range. "This kind of training is important because it gives you a lot of confidence when your training others ... you can't really teach something if you haven't experienced it yourself, and when training recruits, it has to be done right. When they become Marines, their job might be jumping out of helicopters in Iraq, and this will give them a good base to build on."

Corporal Jerry Spencer, BWT instructor, agrees with Brun about the training.

"Those Marines from II MEF coming out here is really good to go," said Spencer. "It's going to help us do our training more efficiently by certifying more Marines on the tower, so we won't have our hands so full when recruits come out here. This way we'll be able to give them a little more help if they need it."

The WFTBn. Marines become certified after an end of the week test covering everything the HRST instructors taught them.

"After a few days of practice, they run through everything on their own," said Boutin. "They have to go through rig's and knot's systems and send down rappels the proper way. They also must pass a written test, and if they do everything correctly, they become certified."

According to Boutin, the course the Marines run through here is almost identical to what they go through in Camp Lejeune except for one thing - helicopters.

"Because we move onto actually jumping out of helicopters, our training is extended a week longer than what we're doing here," said Boutin.

Boutin said that because of the constant use of helicopter insertion and extraction in combat, this training is extremely important.

"The main reason this type of training was developed was to prepare Marines for similar circumstances in combat," said Boutin. "We highly stress the training on the towers and then helicopters so in the event that a truck can't go into a hostile area or aircraft can't land safely, we can just fly a bird in, drop a rope and get Marines on the ground to secure an area until a larger force arrives. It's just another tool in the Marine Corps' tool box."

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