Strung out: BLT 3/1 Marines test their roping skills

26 Jul 2002 | Sgt. Brian J. Griffin

They stand huddled together, checking one another's harness, focusing on the task ahead of them. Tying the rope around their waists, ensuring everything fits and is properly working, Marines with Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), toss away any thoughts of fear. For them, it's just another day at the office.Climbing a ladder up to where the real training begins, they prepare to cross a rope bridge 50 feet above the deck. With the black and green ropes stretched taut across the more than 60-foot gap, they step up to the edge of the balcony. Once hooked to a safety line, they swing their bodies around the guardrail and attach themselves to the rope bridge by a carabineer."The training is important because for some of these Marines, it is their first time doing this. It builds their confidence to know they can do it and can trust their equipment," said 2nd Lt. Michael Deland, commander for 1st Platoon, Co. I. "For those who have done this before, this is a refresher course to ensure they (remain proficient) at the skills required to do something like this." These skills come in handy while the Marines dangle upside down, attached to the rope by carabineers securely hooked to the front of their harnesses. Swinging against the rocking of the ship, they pull themselves hand over hand along a rope that spans the hull of the USS Denver."It's good for us to be able to do this training. The practice helps to keep us on our toes and the techniques fresh in our minds," said Lance Cpl. Michael Baccellieri, assault climber, Company I, BLT 3/1, 11th MEU (SOC). The training simulates crossing a ravine, crevice, river or other form of rough terrain using a rope suspension system. The system takes about 15-20 minutes to set up and the training is designed to build the Marines' self-assurance."This training definitely built my confidence in the gear," said Pfc. Alexander Sargent, 3rd Platoon, Co. I. "Being up 50 feet, hanging upside down and pulling yourself across a rope will help you gain confidence in yourself."After traversing the gap, they pull themselves up to another balcony where a qualified assault climber hooks them to another safety line. Once they reach this balcony, they have successfully completed the bridge crossing. Using time during the ship's transit to safely learn new skills and refresh old ones, Company I Marines continue to look for new ways to challenge themselves throughout the deployment. "They did really well. We had no problems and nobody seemed intimidated by it," Deland said. "Next time we do this training, we could make it harder because these Marines are up to the challenge."

Marine Corps News

Colonel Jim W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarrĀ enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit