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Paul Ratchford, electronics technician and instructor, shows students proper climbing techniques when scaling a communication tower. The students were training to properly climb and rappel off the towers to conduct repairs and keep information flowing.

Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu

G-6 learns tower climbing, keep power on, people safe

2 Nov 2012 | LCpl. D. J. Wu

Members of the Combat Center’s G-6 staff conducted a class on basic tower climbing techniques at Bearmat Hill Oct.29.

This was the first course taught internally by the G-6. They focused on basic climbing safety so the staff can fix antennas and communication systems on the tower.

“We were taught by private contractors at first,” said Joe Becker, electronics technician and G-6 instructor. “But now we can come back to our unit and show them how to do it ourselves.”

Safety is stressed in the course. The towers at the Combat Center can go up hundreds of feet, so the technicians need to know how all their climbing gears works and how to save themselves and each other if they get stuck during a climb.

“This course really gives us confidence in ourselves and the gear,” said Cpl. Tylun Sherod, ground radio operator, G-6. “I just practiced a descent where I had to rescue myself from being stuck.”

The internal G-6 instruction allows the Marines to be more comfortable with the people that are teaching them how to climb the towers.

“They trust us and we trust them,” Becker said. “We work with these guys so they know who we are. We're just trying to get them acclimated to the height.”

Many of the Marines in the course were first-time climbers. The instructors made sure the Marines had the knowledge needed and were comfortable before they made their ascent.

“It's really hard to fight the urge to look down,” Sherod said. “I think looking up was worse during the climb. It's nerve raking, especially when it gets windy up there. I was scared at first but now it's just a joy.”

The tower climbing training was necessary for the Marines to learn how to do their job safely and efficiently.

“Theses towers have to be maintained at all times,” Becker said. “We’re making sure that these Marines are able to do their jobs and do it safely on these towers.”


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