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  • 26
  • Jan
  • 2016
Descent from above: Marines conduct parachute operations

By Lance Cpl. Luke Hoogendam, II MEF Headquarters Group

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, North Carolina -- Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 took to the sky to assist the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command with parachute operations at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jan. 21.

The squadron supported Marine Raiders by conducting high altitude jumps, which are jumps at a height of around 13,000 feet, as well as static line jumps, at a height of around 4,000 feet, to allow Marine Raiders to train for future operations.

“Parachute operations are basically getting Marines to land in their drop zones undetected,” said Lance Cpl. Harrison Haymaker, a crew chief with VMM-365. “If the landing zone is too dangerous for the Osprey to land, we still have the ability to accomplish the mission by allowing Marines to parachute in.”

This training provides operational reach and tactical flexibility to the deployed forces and gives them the ability to overcome obstacles that would otherwise hinder the mission. If the operational area is unreachable to ground forces, VMM-365’s ability to insert Marines into difficult areas is a valuable option.

The squadron conducts parachute operations weekly for different units to ensure they are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

“Flights like this give us the extra practice to be able to conduct the procedures of parachute operations smoothly,” said Capt. Brett Statema, a VMM-365 pilot. “This also enhances our overall unit readiness to operate while on deployment.”

No matter how many times VMM-365 conducts these operations there’s always room for improvement.

“Practice makes perfect, the more the Marine Aircraft Wing and the squadron conduct these kinds of operations the better we will be when the time comes for us to drop Marines in,” Haymaker added.