2010 - EPISODE 4:
Soldiers perform an aerial jump from 1,500 feet, attempting to land in a target circle. They must then gather all their gear and run to the finish line.
Get ready for a leap of faith in the Spot Jump event. Time to Ranger up.
Last time, Malone 3 was the backdrop for a live fire exercise: shoot, move and communicate.
Master Sergeant Turk and Master Sergeant Ross were able to maintain their lead.
Ranger: Made it to the end. Shot as many as we could.
The Ranger buddy teams will rough march over 2 miles to Lee Field and the PZ for the start of the Spot Jump, where mistakes are not tolerated or survived.
Team 6 continues their hold of the lead position, with Team 19 right behind. Competitors must completely rig themselves and their equipment in 30 minutes.
SFC Randy Martinez: They’re here to rig up their equipment, also properly rig up a MC6 series parachute. When they come up to us, we inspect the parachute; we conduct a JMPI to make sure that there are no deficiencies.
Full inspection is required, with penalties if warranted before teams are given the all-clear.
Sergeant First Class Chad Stackpole: Airborne Rangers are a unique asset to the Army. It gives us the capabilities to insert anywhere at any time behind enemy line. With a UH60 aircraft, it’s a great means of insertion for us to get into the fight with a smaller element without being compromised by the enemy.
Team 6, Master Sergeants Turk and Ross, have just minutes to battle plan before it’s time to board the aircraft. Wearing two parachutes and his M4 rifle, the Rangers’ combat jump weight is well over 120 pounds.
Ranger teams are in for an 8-minute flight aboard a UH60 Blackhawk from Lee PZ to Friar DZ, the drop zone, where they will try to land inside a 40-meter circle or as close as possible. This is a timed event. Their time starts as soon as they hit the ground, then ends once both team members and all of their gear are inside the circle.
The temperature is climbing as we approach midday.
SSG Michael Ayotte: At the moment, the heat is really what’s killing us, just the all-around conditions. As long as we keep our pace steady, we should be good though.
Stackpole: For these guys as they approach the drop zone, these guys are trained in airborne operations. They’re looking for a particular mark on the drop zone; they’re listening to the wind readings from the jump master, as well as reading the smoke. These guys have to be able to make a sound tactical decision as far as when they want to depart the aircraft, and hopes and regards they’ll land on the appropriate spot at the drop zone.
After the thumbs up by the jump master, it’s all clear.
Team 22, Greenwood and McKinney, are currently in seventh place. They are charging hard, and timing is critical on the Spot Jump.
The stopwatch is still ticking and Team 23, Sergeant Billings and Sergeant First Class Mirador, must get all their gear to the circle to stop the clock. The draining heat continues to be a factor.
Sergeant Jeremy Billings: Today is one of the hottest days I have ever experienced at Fort Benning. It’s extremely hot out, I feel like I’m going to go down, I have to keep on drinking water, and I have to Ranger up and move up and complete the mission.
Team 7 started out the day in third place. They have maintained that position after the Spot Jump. Sergeant Major Moran was one of two Rangers to actually land on the target. The other one was Master Sergeant Turk, as Team 6 won the event, still in the lead after Day 1.
Day 2 brings out the best in the Ranger, fighting for your life and rope tricks.
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