On Tuesday, a veteran Navy SEAL officer was killed in an accident while undergoing routine training in Virginia Beach.

Cmdr. Cmdr. He was taken to a Norfolk hospital and later died.

One of the most popular infiltration methods is fast-roping. It’s used mainly through special-operations forces and by some other units. Although it is a quick and efficient way to insert troops into a battlefield, inherent dangers exist.

Slide for life

US Army Special Forces soldiers conduct fast-rope training during night training in Morocco, June 15, 2021. 

The Fast Rope Insertion Extension System (FRIES) is the official name of this technique. It’s used to quickly get special operators out of a helicopter or tilt-rotor plane.

Fast-roping involves attaching a thick rope to a bar on an aircraft’s fuselage — typically an MH-60 Blackhawk or MH-47G Chinook — and then rolling it out on target.

A sandbag is usually placed at the rope’s end to keep it from becoming tangled and dangerous for troops. Special operators then mount the string using thick, heat-resistant gloves and slide it to the ground.

It would be best to straighten your legs and then hold on to the rope. Navy seal helicopter As if you were trying to get into a room via a window, imagine that. “Then you straighten your legs and then slide down,” an operator from Special Forces assigned to a National Guard unit explained to Insider.

Philippine Marines fast rope from an USMC UH-1N Iroquois onto Landing Zone Hohmen, during Exercise BALIKATAN 2000. BALIKATAN 2000 is a joint combined field training exercise held between US and Philippines forces, and is the largest of its kind since 1995.

The airframe may allow for two ropes to be used simultaneously by the exiting troops. This speeds up the process of insertion. There can be multiple troopers on the same rope, unlike rappelling. The technique is used by most special operations units all over the globe.

“Fastrope is an excellent method to get on the target quickly. An assault team with the proper training can quickly fast-rope the target bird to the target in a matter of seconds. Although there is some risk to both the operator and the bird during the process, it is acceptable. There is almost always overhead support that covers the insertion. A former Delta Force operator told an insider that the fast-roping bird has some natural defense systems that can provide good cover.

For experienced troops, the Army offers a course to make them FRIES Masters. This allows them to supervise fast-rope training and insertions during fundamental world operations.

FRIES Masters candidates must pass written and oral exams. They must also demonstrate proficiency in rigging aircraft for FRIES operations. They also have to rappel from a 40-foot tower without a combat load.


“Fastrope is one the first methods of insertion you learn in SOF [special operations forces]. You don’t need any special skills, and there is no barrier to entry. Just hold on to the rope and use your legs properly. That’s it. It’s a good idea not to be afraid of heights! The retired Delta Force commando spoke anonymously as he continued to work with the US government.

Fast-roping can be a helpful technique in areas like the Indo-Pacific, where dense foliage and jungles make it difficult for aircraft to operate.

Fast-roping has been a growing trend among conventional infantry units in the past few years.

US Army Special Forces soldiers practice fast-roping from a CV-22B Osprey in Germany, April 24, 2014. 
US Army/image

Conventional units can also adopt fast-roping, which isn’t a method that was exclusive to special mission units (like Delta Force or the former SEAL team 6).

The former Delta operator stated that “this is, in fact, an expected outcome of ours.” We take pride in developing equipment, TTP (tactics techniques and procedures), and insertion methods to support the joint force.

A dangerous insertion method

Cpl. John West, and Dan, a military working dog, perform a fast-rope exercise aboard USS America, February 18, 2020. 
US Navy/

Special operators don’t need to be hooked up to the rope during fast-rope inserts. Their only protection is their grip with their feet and hands. If their hands slip or their boots slip, they can fall from 20 to 100 feet.

Fast-rope is the best option if the helicopter cannot land. It’s a great way to get men on target quickly and [together] grouped. The National Guard Green Beret stated that dogs could be brought along, but he spoke anonymously as he wasn’t authorized to communicate with the media.

It can be dangerous. According to reports, the SEAL sustained injuries during a nighttime fast rope. These are dangerous because you can’t see, and the rotor is blasting in your ears.” The Green Beret said.

Cmdr. Cmdr. Job Price, commanding officer of seal team 4, was killed while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. Bourgeois was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in nearly a decade.

Although it is not common for officers of Bourgeois rank to die during training, the Navy SEAL officer appears to have led from the front and faced the same dangers as his men at age 43.

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