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Marines descend from above

3 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Eugenio Montanez 1st Marine Division


Approximately 40 Marines assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment participated in the Assault Climbers Course here Apr. 3-25.

During the course, Marines are learning advanced techniques of assault climbing, rapelling, knot-tying and safety.

“Once we graduate, we will be able to climb up any vertical obstacle, and once on top, pull (up) all our gear and even other Marines if necessary,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Loya, 24, assaultman with Company F, who is from Seattle. “We will be able to pull up any Marine who is wounded and in need of medical attention.”

The Marines believe that the training will make them more reliable when it comes to getting work done.

“They’re teaching us to be more effective in our job, and that makes us (more of) an asset to our company,” said Lance Cpl. Kenneth R. Petersen, 20, an assaultman with Co. E, from Burlington, Iowa.

The instruction taught to Marines will be will be passed on to other Marines in their home units.

“We are getting trained in assault climbing so we can step up and teach other Marines how to do this,” said Petersen.

Even though the Marines are training, they still find time to have fun.

“This has been an awesome course,” Petersen said. “The instructors are really hands-on and they show you how to do things really well.”

During the rappelling process, Marines are harnessed by a single rope as they make their descent.

“We’re basically putting our life on a rope, and if we’re not safe at every point, something real bad can happen, and I just don’t want to die,” said Lance Cpl. Jared Salcido, 20, a mortarman with Weapons Co., from Odessa, Texas.

To be prepared for rappelling, the Marines take many safety precautions. “We have to make sure the knots are correctly (tied), all the carabineers are locked down, and we basically have to be as safe as possible before going down the rope to rappel,” said Salcido.

Once this group of Marines pass, they will become certified assault climbers and have an extra skill to work with.

“All the training we do, we accumulate it and use it to be able to accomplish the mission at the end of the day,” said Salcido.

1st Marine Division