3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) train like no others. Friday, on a field just across the street from White Lake, North Carolina, a large group of Soldiers dressed in black physical fitness uniforms and some of their Families waited to hear if a planned water jump training was a go.
Waterborne operations normally take place between May and September and every 3rd SFG battalion performs one to two water jumps per year.
These water jumps are important to 3rd SFG (A).
“We like to focus on water jumps because we have dive teams. They’re special operators who are dive qualified … to strategically infil (infiltrate) into certain locations that have coasts or coves. So, if we train on water jumping, it better helps our dive teams jump out of aircraft and do waterborne infiltration and it also helps with jumper recovery,” explained jumpmaster Staff Sgt. Jordan, 3rd SFG (A).
Members of the Special Operations Forces community jump with a unique chute, the MC-6 parachute.
“It’s a steerable chute, so, as a jumper you have more control over where you’re going to go. It’s not so much up to where the wind is taking you, and the comfort level, they fit a little bit better,” said Jordan.
While Families and Soldiers waited, a football was thrown around as Ruffio the dog cooled down in the shade.
“You can bring your Family … it’s good to have the Family out here for team cohesion and it lets our Families know, ‘Hey we are not only here for your husbands or your wives who are out serving, but we are also her for your Family too’…and it brings them in so they can come up touch the helicopters and see what we do for a living,” said Jordan.
When 3rd SFG (A) participates in these training events it is not just the Green Berets who participate. SOF support staff also able to take part in special training events and classes.
“This my first one (water jump). It was amazing. It was really hot and it was nice to get in the water; it’s just completely different,” said Sgt. 1st Class Loken, member of the 3rd SFG (A) support team, of her first water jump.
The jump was conducted from 1,500 feet, flying at approximately 75 knots from south of the lake to north. Ten chalks of six jumpers per pass landed in White Lake. One boat and three zodiacs collected jumpers and gear and deposited them back at a private dock on the lake.