Cool thread. I hope you guys don't mind my jumping in.
When did they start Fast Roping?....
On the Corps' side, we began to fastrope around 1985. We had no "school" or "course" for it at the time, and just practiced utilizing helos and towers. On our TRUE Ex (Tactical Reconnaissance in and Urban Environment -- all MEUSOCs must undergo one), circa 1986, we flew around downtown NYC and practiced fastroping onto govt and police buildings.
Steadfast wrote:However, I never rappelled into the jungle. I sure would have liked to do that fast ropping. Looks easy and gets you to the ground pronto! One thing I'de like to ask you guys is did you ever fast rope wearing an ruck with 80 to 100 lbs of gear plus your LBE & Rifle? I would think that slowing down with all that weight would be near impossible.
For heavily wooded areas (or those with lots of obstacles), I think that rappelling is pretty much the right way to go. Even more so when you start ramping up the gear/weight. In my unit, if you were headed out for more than a 3-5 day patrol, you would not fastrope in because of the weight, or if the insert zone was heavily wooded.
For rappelling into thick trees, we would either throw a heavily weighted bag with the rappell rope back fed into it and let it penetrate to the floor of the area or (and this second variation wasn't used as much) we would have each rappeller carry his own bag with him attached to his weak-side leg and the rope would feed out to him as he rappelled down (allowing him to negotiate the branches/etc. until he hit the ground). The second variation was only used when we were inserting from Hueys as it allowed 4 guys to insert at the same time.
Desert Sloth wrote:....We are working with a dude who has designed a new rappel device called the Tactical Rappel Device (TRD), which allows multiple dudes to be attached to the rope (a 7mm Kermantle as opposed to the 11mm) and upon hitting the ground, you simply hit the spring loaded release and the rope drops out. All of this can be accomplished with one hand.
This device was created by requests from NAVSPECWAR due to them wanting to get away from fastroping. The engineer said that SOCOM and AFCOM also are wanting to get away from it due to the high number of injuries.
I would have like to have had this device back then. The biggest hangup to rappelling is getting off the rope quickly once you have reached the ground. This looks like the answer to that problem.
I don't think we ever had anyone injured in in my unit while fastroping (at least while I was there). As soon as this insert technique was exported to the grunts and the number of people getting on a rope and their individual weight increased (both due -- IMO -- to the unavoidable case of the dumbass which comes into play with the leaders of these poor dudes), I think I began to hear of injuries -- some serious....[/quote]