123rd Special Tactics Airmen train with Marines, Chilean Air Commandos during airfield-seizure exercise

  • Published
  • By Cpl. Alexander Mitchell
  • Marine Expeditionary Force
Marines with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing transported a team of 20 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron and Chilean Air Commandos aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules during Emerald Warrior 2015 here April 28.
Working with VMGR-252, the team landed and prepositioned two 50cc mini bikes at an airfield before later taking off again and jumping out to parachute down to the airfield to conduct their planned Jump Clearing Team mission.

"Flying with Americans and the unit helps us toward the training that we do out here," said Rudy, a team leader with the Chilean Air Commandos. "Working together helps with future missions in a combat area."

The Marines aboard the Hercules set up static lines and locked down the bikes aboard the aircraft. The 123rd STS and Chilean jump masters worked side by side with Marine crew masters during jumps to ensure safety, speed and proper technique.

"We run checklists before the jumps to ensure quick and safe executions," said Marine Staff Sgt. Arnold Sosa, a crew master with VMGR-252. "Once we secure the inside of the plane and open up the back ramp, the jump master takes charge of his jumpers while I make wind and time calls prior to the jump."

Once the jump is complete the crew masters relay information to the pilots.

"I notify the pilots when the first jumper goes as well as the last jumper," Sosa said. "After that, we give them a total jumper count and total chute count to ensure a safe jump."

The partnership between the different services and partner nations during training exercises like Emerald Warrior 2015 further enhances their relationships.

"It is a great partnership with great forces," Rudy said. "Training together and completing missions during Emerald Warrior help toward our commando unit in the future. It brings our guys and American forces together in a strong bond."

Emerald Warrior is a joint exercise led by Air Force Special Operations Command that provides pre-deployment training for U.S. and partner nation special operations forces and interagency elements. The annual exercise is the Department of Defense's only irregular warfare exercise.