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Rangers train for parachuting into water

POSTED: May 14, 2014 4:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers DCN regional staff/

Army Rangers maneuver a small rubber boat into position to pick up a soldier landing in the water.

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Jumping out of a plane can be pretty disorienting. Jumping from a plane into water with a wet parchute surrounding you is even worse.

That's why Army Rangers practice, Capt. Thomas Shandy said.

"The purpose of this [training exercise] is to practice the most dangerous type of landing, which is a water landing," Shandy said. "We're practicing out here today under safe conditions, so we will be prepared for an emergency situation later on down the line."

Thursday morning, for the third year, Ranger battalions staged a parachute scenario at War Hill Park on Lake Lanier.

Rangers from the 5th Ranger Training Battalion, deployed from Fort Benning, spent the day at the park's boat ramp, taking 20 rotating shifts to leap into the water from more than a quarter of a mile up in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Once the soldiers landed in the water, boats were waiting to retrieve the jumpers and take them back to the dock.

"There's a lot of training that goes into this," Shandy said. "One of the things we have to do prior to executing this is making sure everyone is certified in wet silk training."

This type of training involves jumpers practicing with a parachute coming down over their head in the water, surfacing under the parachute, taking a breath and then swimming out, all during an emergency situation.

Other agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Natural Resources, National Guard, Coast Guard and sheriff's offices and emergency services from Dawson, Forsyth and Hall counties assisted. The 4th and 6th Ranger Training Battalions from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida also helped.

"This is a huge exercise for us in coordination with all of these outside agencies," Shandy said. "This is our opportunity to train and to work with the local agencies."



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