Marines from across the Marine Corps train in the Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques course on Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune, April 13. Students go through the two-week course learning how to become an HRST Master.
"It’s a great course, it’s not very physical but it’s mentally challenging," said Sgt. Christopher Eline, student at the HSRT Masters course. "There’s fourteen knots and fourteen different systems that we have to know as the HRST Master. We have to know them inside and out to make sure everything’s a hundred percent."
During their last training day students strap themselves in all their personal protective equipment and enter an MV22 Osprey as its blades spin, ready to take off. The instructor secures a rope onto the tail end, steps away from the helicopter and observes it fly 60 feet into the air.
When everyone is ready to start the exercise the instructor gives the signal and the students one by one make their way down the rope. The first student to reach the ground lies on top of the rope to keep it stable for the rest of the students as they fast rope down and prepare to repeat the exercise until they become proficient in its execution.
"We will be the one’s running this type of training operations when we get back to our units," said Eline. "The instructors were great and they’re definitely holding us to the standards making sure we know what we’re doing."
Throughout the course the students learn how to repel from walls, fast rope off of helicopters and how to properly use the special patrol insertion/extraction system. The students come from a variety of MOS fields to take what they learn in the course back to their units.
"We have students throughout different units from reservist to combat instructors to military police and infantrymen, it’s a pretty broad audience," said Sgt. Keith Castonguay, an HRST instructor with Expeditionary Operations Training Group. "It’s definitely a good capability set for units that are actually out there deploying and with the upcoming distributed operations that the Marine Corps is planning for small units this definitely something every squad and at least every platoon on the ground combat element side should have."