Royal Dutch Marines slide to safety

20 Mar 2015 | Cpl. Alexander Mitchell The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

More than 50 feet in the air, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter hovers above the ground as Royal Dutch Marines, with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, prepare to slide down a rope hanging from the belly of the helicopter at the Expeditionary Operations Training Group compound at Stone Bay, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 17, 2015.

Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 worked with the Royal Marines to help them become more proficient and tactically sound at these types of exercises. 

Two Super Stallion helicopters carried 10 Royal Dutch Marines in each aircraft. A rope used to slide down was attached inside and hung out a hole in the belly of the aircraft, which the Royal Marines used to quickly slide through and reach the ground in seconds.

“This training helps build confidence in our unit,” said Christopher, a Royal Dutch Marine with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. “Sliding down a rope with no safety clips, using just your hands and feet to hold the rope and control your speed builds upon our courage and prepares us for the fight.”

Royal Marines are conducting various training scenarios with help from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 so that the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps can become more proficient with this type of training. Christopher enjoys the teamwork and confidence boosts that the unit has been building together. 

During the exercises, Royal Marines practiced fast-roping with no gear, full gear including weapons and packs, and conducted a tactical entry. During the tactical entry, the helicopter flew a small circle around the landing zone then hovered above the ground as they fast-roped down and formed a secure perimeter surrounding the aircraft. 

“These training facilities are more realistic towards an environment we would engage hostile enemies in,” said Twan, a Royal Dutch Marine with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. “It helps us adapt and learn different scenarios we may encounter. Securing a safety perimeter as the team slides down the rope ensures we make a safe entry into a dangerous area.”

Royal Marines do not get the opportunity to conduct this type of training on a regular basis. Being part of this training event, they received hands on training and are able to carry out the goal of their unit while gaining knowledge and become more proficient at their job, Twan said. 

“There might be some slow points when working together in a high speed scenario” Christopher said. “But by working together as a team and learning new techniques and tactics, we can fix ourselves while going through the training to maintain a realistic and combat speed feeling.”