The sky's the limit for these Marines participating in high altitude high opening (HAHO) sustainment training at IDIS-Corp facility in Parker, Ariz., from July 12 to August 1, 2017.
Marines from the Force Reconnaissance Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, stationed at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan participated in the HAHO training to learn how to infiltrate enemy lines.
"We're out here and we're doing HAHO sustainment training, increasing our capabilities as teams to clandestinely infiltrate from high altitudes," said the Platoon Commander of the Force Recon Company, III MEF.
HAHO allows the reconnaissance company to perform a more clandestine means of insertion through tactical scenarios. Most notably, HAHO gives these Marines a chance to train for surface-to-air threats.
Training is Critical
"This training is important because it allows us to provide the supporting unit commander that special insert capability," said a team leader for the Force Recon Company, III MEF. "For us, jumping that unmarked and unknown drop zone is going to allow that commander to extend his area of influence."
And being able to do HAHO training in house means that there's no lag in wait times for authorization.
JPADS is all about making things easier
When conducting long-range insertion, the Marines now implement the Joint Precision Air Drop System (JPADS). JPADS allows the Marines to increase their sustainment, survivability, and mobility by bringing in vehicles, chow, water, or other sensitive equipment required for mission accomplishment. III MEF were the first Marines ever to jump out of aircraft using JPADS. There was about a 15 second delay to ensure they landed on the designated impact point.
"We can follow the JPADS system out of the aircraft and navigate to the designated impact point," said the Platoon Commander.
HAHO Jumping with JPADS
"Jumping with the JPADS is kind of a fire and forget thing. I know we have quality riggers that have programmed what they need to do. I know the checks have been done and that is just one less thing I have to worry about," said a team leader. "The JPADS allows me to think about the jumper's safety."
With that ease of mind, the jumper can focus on the jump and actually enjoy the scenery on the way down.
"I remember one particular jump. I looked out and the first thing that came to mind was the beginning God created. I was able to actually see the earth, his creation. I was able to see God's hands at work," said the Assistant Team Leader for the Force Recon Company, III MEF. "You're looking at the earth and can see expansive mountains, it's like flying, and it's an adrenaline rush."
The combined effort of the clear-minded Marines and the JPADS is one of the many capabilities the Marine Corps can use to accomplish its missions.