Marines, Army work together on Okinawa

7/17/2009 By Pfc. Aaron D. Hostutler , Marine Corps Bases Japan
IE SHIMA, Okinawa, Japan — One strength of the United States military is the ability of the armed services to coordinate and work together.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 recently displayed this coordination by providing support to 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldiers during parachute operations training at Ie Shima.

"This kind of training is key for instances where we can't land the helicopter," said Maj. James Kyte, the squadron's operations officer. "If it's at night, the enemy may know we've flown overhead but would be unaware of the men we dropped."

Throughout the day, more than 50 soldiers made the jump from the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter, completing their quarterly jump requirements.

"Technically we are required to jump every quarter, but we try to jump at least once a month," said Army Sgt. Caleb Roth, a Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear noncommissioned officer with the battalion.

In order to complete the training, each soldier performed one static-line jump. For this jump, the pull cord of the parachute is connected to a line in the helicopter and as soon as an individual jumps from the aircraft, the parachute deploys.

"This training was good because it was my first time jumping from the CH-46," Roth said. "Jumping from various aircraft like C-130s and Blackhawks is another requirement."

As Special Forces soldiers, one of their main tasks is combat infiltration, according to a U.S. Army officer who's name is being withheld to ensure operational security.

"Being that this is one of our core tasks it's important to keep the guys' proficiency up," he said.

The parachute operations training not only fulfilled training requirements for the Army, but also allowed each service to practice interoperability.

"Anytime we conduct joint training, it enhances our proficiency as well as the proficiency of the other service we're working with," Kyte said. "This isn't something we get to do everyday. We welcome any opportunity we get to work with other services."