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Marines train in Cambodia

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PHNOM PENH, Kingdom of Cambodia — Marines from Okinawa traveled to Cambodia to refresh their skills and increase combined-joint interoperability by providing support for a U.S. Army jumpmaster course here Aug. 14-21.

Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted training, while providing support to soldiers with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), during the course.

“The communication (was) really smooth on our end, and the Army’s as well,” said Marine Capt. Chad Magro, a pilot for VMGR-152.

The training helped prepare U.S. and host nation service members to work together in future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts or contingencies.

“The purpose of combined-joint exercise training is to work with host nation forces and build rapport to better understand the area of operations that special forces work in,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Castro, communications staff noncommissioned officer in charge, 1st Bn., 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).

“We get a better understanding of their unit breakdown and their day-to-day activities,” he said.

During the training, soldiers participated in a static line personnel jump and free fall with nearly 40 members of the Royal Cambodian Army.

A static line is a cord attached from an aircraft to the top of an individual’s parachute. The static line mechanism opens the parachute automatically once the passenger jumps from the aircraft.

“You perform jumpmaster parachute inspections before they can jump to ensure they rigged their parachutes properly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vince Tracy, a parachute rigger with 1st Bn., 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). “You have to control the actions inside the aircraft to ensure that everything is done safely for the paratrooper to exit the aircraft and most importantly, to instill confidence in the jumper.”

VMGR-152 Marines also conducted internal aerial delivery training while in Cambodia, including cargo and military freefall to prepare their Marines for future deployments to Afghanistan and to meet annual readiness requirements.

The communication between Marines, soldiers and the Royal Cambodian Army was beneficial in all aspects of the training, according to Magro.

“It was great working with the Cambodians,” said Tracy. “They are very professional. They took what we had, incorporated it into their airborne operations and showed us different ways of doing things. Hopefully it can help us improve our operations and strengthen the relationship between our two countries.”

Article by Lance Cpl. Matheus J. Hernandez, Marine Corps Bases Japan