FORT BRAGG, N.C. (April 10, 2015) - The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) is the first unit in a special forces regiment to field the Army's new Military Free Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute System, or RA-1.

The group's riggers were also the first to conduct the rigger and jumper new equipment training, or NET, for the RA-1 double bag static line.

The new parachute can be used for static line or free fall operations. The RA-1 also features a stronger construction allowing the system to support 75 more pounds than its similarly shaped, MC-4 predecessor that had been the standard in special operations for many years.

"The RA-1 is an impressive piece of equipment due to its versatility," said 3rd Group's airdrop technician. "The capability to be configured as a static line parachute or a free fall parachute increases our adaptability to mission requirements."

The group's riggers will continue their assistance with the fielding of the RA-1 across the special operations community by sending two Soldiers to Yuma, Arizona, in April, to work with the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). This subject matter expertise exchange will be an essential aspect of fielding the new parachute for students in the military free fall parachutist course.

"After training with this equipment, the lessons learned for both the jumper and rigger NET were integrated and passed on to higher commands to aid other special operations forces with the transition," said the non-commissioned officer in charge of the group's parachute rigger facility.

The group's riggers have also been supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. Deployed riggers provide special operations forces with aerial delivery support to multiple special operations missions. To prepare and maintain proficiency for the mission in Afghanistan, the group's parachute rigging facility has been keeping a busy schedule. The focus of the training has been on special operations combat expendable platforms, Joint Precision Airdrop Systems, and Low-Cost Aerial Delivery Systems.

"It is quite exceptional the high training and operational tempo that the Soldiers in our rigger facility are able to maintain on a daily basis," the group's rigger company commander said.

"They are truly the quiet professionals that provide quality aerial delivery capabilities to the unit, both in garrison and in worldwide operations," the company commander said.