Sunday, July 13, 2008

Redwing Marine supports recon jump training

AL-ASAD, Iraq (July 5, 2008) – A Redwing, Minnesota native, assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), plays a vital role in ensuring his counterparts in Marine ground units maintain their jump certifications.

Cpl. John Carroll, a loadmaster with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 Detachment A, assisted the Marines of Okinawa-based 2nd platoon, Echo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 1, in a static-line day jump and combat jump in the Anbar province July 3.

As a loadmaster for the KC-130J, a medium-sized tanker and cargo aircraft, prepping the plane for missions and overseeing all cargo and passenger loading and weight distribution falls to Carroll and his fellow loadmasters. Constantly monitoring and managing load balance is essential to a safe, successful flight, according to Carroll.

The loadmasters must take additional steps to prepare the plane for static-line and combat-jump training. The addition of static lines and retriever cables added extra time to pre-flight procedures, according to Carroll.

The training evolution is a prime example of how ground elements and the aviation elements work together to “become stronger as an elite fighting force,” according to Carroll.

3rd Reconnaissance Battalion rotates Marines through al-Asad to provide them an opportunity to participate in insertion methods training in a combat environment. The squadron, who facilitated the training, ensure the reconnaissancemen maintain their jump certifications and skills they need to focus on their mission once they have boots on the ground.
“This is a method of insertion,” said Gunnery Sgt. Tim Parkhurst, paraloft chief with the battalion. “We want this to be comfortable for them so it becomes second nature so they can put all their effort and all their thoughts into the mission at hand.

“These guys are phenomenal,” added Parkhurst referring the Marines of the KC 130J squadron, nicknamed “The Raiders.” “Everything they have done for us - they have gone way above and beyond and were extremely flexible when issues would arise unexpectedly.”
Carroll has been in al-Asad since February 2008 and will be returning home to Redwing in the upcoming months.

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