Fort Benning, Ga. -- Crewmembers with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 assisted the Basic Airborne School, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, at Fort Benning, Ga., Oct. 25.
The squadron orchestrated more than 15 passes over the drop zone, releasing nearly 180 airborne school students from several military branches during static-line jump training from 1,250 feet. The final 10 service members exiting the aircraft were jump masters conducting military free fall training from 13,000 feet.
VMGR-252 participated in the training during a training deployment for Marines slated to deploy with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, according to Capt. Brain A. Hart, a naval aviator with the squadron.
“The purpose of practicing static-line jumping and military free fall is it is a means of tactically inserting troops, which is a routine mission for our squadron while deployed,” said Hart.
According to Hart, the training simulated the operational tempo for the squadron’s junior Marines to prepare them for the upcoming MAGTF deployment.
“The most difficult tasks for me, as a pilot, are the calculations involved with the jumper and timing to ensure each jumper hits their mark,” said Hart. “It is important to have time management and maintain situational awareness at all times.”
For many of the service members exiting the back ramp of the aircraft during the training, it was a first jump, calling for an experienced crew to guide them.
Master Sgt. James R. Holdaway, Gunnery Sgt. John Marsh and Staff Sgt. Christopher Maxheimer were the three crew masters during the training.
Crew masters control the flow of jumpers and maintain the safety of all personnel aboard the aircraft.
In order to ensure proficiency, crew masters train all year long, said Maxheimer. Whether supervising jump training or brushing up on your knowledge at home, the job requires consistent training.