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Marines from Air Delivery Platoon, Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, prepare their gear before a jump at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 23. The helmets belong to the newest parachute riggers in the fleet.

Photo by Pfc. Timothy Childers

Leap of faith

23 Aug 2011 | Pfc. Timothy Childers

A Marine sits nervously in the cargo hold of a C-130 aircraft. His fellow Marines sitting to his right and left try to cheer him up with words of confidence. The jump master calls the 5-minute mark. His group of jumpers stands up, shuffles to the door, and clips their parachute lines onto a cable. The rear loading ramp opens and the Marines take a leap of faith into thin air.
Marines from Air Delivery Platoon, Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, conducted a personnel jump in which parachute riggers fell more than 1,000 feet over the hills here, Aug. 23. The primary purpose of the jump was to get jump masters qualified for operations.
Before the jump, Marines went through a series of pre-jump routines to ensure safety, said Staff Sgt. James Nine, the platoon sergeant of Air Delivery Platoon, LS Co., CLR-17, 1st Marine Logistics Group. The routines practiced hand-and-arm signals, reviewed landing procedures, and inspected the parachutes.
Nine, from Columbia City, Ind. said, the jump was a training operation with two primary missions: “Get new jump masters checked off and qualified for operations, and to maintain jumpers’ proficiency.”
Marines from LS Company and soldiers participated in the jump. Air Delivery Marines train with many different militaries around the world, said Cpl. Cory Bandouveres, a jump master with Air Delivery Platoon, LS Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG.
Alongside the skilled jumpers were Marines experiencing their first time jumping in the fleet Marine force, said Bandouveres.
“We’re instilling the Marines with experience to give them a proper transition,” said Bandouveres, commenting about the junior Marines’ transitions from the military occupational specialty school house to the Fleet Marine Force.
Air delivery is a more cost-efficient, safer, and prompt means of delivering much-needed supplies to Marines in Afghanistan, said Nine. It erases the need for convoys, which are at risk from improvised explosive devices and ambushes, as well as the costs associated with the manpower and time spent organizing resupplies via convoy.
All the training, safety, and precautions these Marines take ensure a safe jump that instills the Marines with experience and as a side benefit, the Marines have a great time.
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