After nearly two years of planning and fine-tuning, Expeditionary Operations Training Group conducted its first week-long fast rope masters course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune July 11 through 14.
Derived from the longer two-week helicopter rope suspension training course, the fast rope masters course focuses on qualifying noncommissioned officers and above as subject matter experts and qualifies them to train Marines within their subordinate command.
"It’s a force multiplier for conducting operations," said Sgt. Joshua Jelinek, a Helicopter Rope Suspension Training instructor with EOTG. "We teach Marines to become fast rope masters and they can go back to their units and safely conduct fast rope operations with their junior Marines."
Throughout the week, the Marines received time in the classroom, where they were taught the key fundamentals of what a fast rope master has to do when conducting operations. They then took the training to hands-on applications on multiple platforms to include a tower and rotor-wing aircraft.
"As a regular roper, you’re paying attention to the rope master and trusting in him that he’ll put you on the rope at the right time and give you the correct indicators," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Tanner, a company operations chief with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
The course is the first of its kind. Jelinek says that they plan to run the course four to five times a year, giving more Marines the ability to pass on the valuable training and information throughout II Marine Expeditionary Force.
"The student’s feedback is key," said Jelinek. "We want to know better ways to suit the needs of the Marines coming through this training."
After a successful week, the Marine students will be sent back to their commands, where training never ceases.
"I want to take away the ability to take my Marines up in a bird and send them down the rope fast and efficiently," said Tanner. "Whatever situation comes to hand, whatever area terrain we come across, we’ll be able to get there."