A 22-year-old Marine was killed in a training accident Monday after a mishap at the Multi-Mission Parachute Course in Coolidge, Ariz., according to a Marine Corps statement.
Cpl. Alejandro Romero, 22, from Carson, Calif., was killed during a double-bag static line jump at the parachute training course. Romero served as a reconnaissance scout with with Bravo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) based in Okinawa, Japan. He earned the National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, according to the Marine Corps statement from Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command.
“The Marine Corps has suspended all double-bag static line parachuting operations effective immediately until further notice. A preliminary investigation is underway which will be followed by a Safety Investigation Board with support from multiple subject matter experts,” the statement reads.
The Marine Corps did not respond to additional questions about the training mishap.
An April 2014 feature story on the Multi-Mission Parachute Course, though, describes the training regimen recon Marines go through at the Arizona course. The article describes one jump involving 24 Marines conducting a double-bag static line jump from a C-130 Hercules plane at about 6,000 feet in the air.
“A static line is a cord attached from one end of the aircraft to the other. When the Marine jumps from the plane, the line pulls the deployment bag out of the pack on the Marine’s back causing it to inflate,” reads the article.
The Marines conducted several days of training in a classroom before conducting the first parachute jump, spending time inspecting and packing the parachute equipment to ensure the gear was in good operating condition. They conducted the first jump with minimal gear, to familiarize themselves with the parachute and the process, before progressing to a jump while wearing full combat equipment. The training course included day and night jumps, with the Marines conducting 12 jumps to pass the course and being evaluated on their form during the jump, while in air and during their landing, according to the article.