SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Whether gliding through the air up to 200 feet above theground suspended on a rope, or executing fast rope descents from a hovering UH-60 helicopteronto a rooftop, Soldiers who attend the 25th Infantry Division’s Lightning Academy insertionand extraction training stay ready to complete the mission anytime, anywhere, regardless ofthe terrain.The 25th Inf. Div.’s Lightning Academy’s Air Assault Instructors recently sharpened theirFast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES) and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction System(SPIES) Master skills in order to stay vigilant while teaching how to insert and extract Soldiers inthe most restrictive and challenging terrain typical of the world’s jungles.Lightning Academy serves as the U.S. Military’s Premier Jungle Training Venue and theU.S. Army’s Premier Pacific Training Venue for local, regional and global partners. Its prime‘jungle’ location in Oahu, Hawaii, allows Lightning Academy to prepare 25th Inf. Div. and allother military partners and allies for the inevitabilities and rigors of jungle warfare, and theunique challenges that come with operating in this type of terrain.FRIES and SPIES training is crucial for adaptability when operating in jungleenvironments because it is used to insert or extract Soldiers in locations unsuitable for ahelicopter to land, such as an area which is confined due to vegetation or obstacles. For the25th Inf. Div., operating in Oahu, Hawaii, this is particularly applicable given the INDO-PACOMAOR and Jungle-warfare focus involving densely vegetated tropical forests.This four-day course “focuses on the techniques of Fast Rope Insertion and SPIESextraction,” explains Staff Sgt. Calvin Clark, lightning academy FRIES/SPIES master courseinstructor. “The course is designed to provide parent units with subject matter experts in thefull spectrum of FRIES/SPIES Master Duties,” and ensures they “are proficient upon graduationon tower training, FRIES/SPIES sustainment training, and rotary wing operations.”The Lightning Academy FRIES/SPIES Master Course is open to all NoncommissionedOfficers and Officers in the ranks of corporal to sergeant major, and lieutenant to major. Thereis a maximum of 25 participants in each class, with six to seven classes offered per fiscal year.INDO-PACOM personnel from all branches have priority for this course, but other installationscan also enroll if there is availability.FRIES/SPIES Master Course Instructor Staff Sgt. Calvin Clark describes, “Students mustpass a written exam; display proficiency rappelling from the 40 foot Rappelling Tower (with andwithout carrying a load) during both daytime and nighttime scenarios; pass a verbal exam ofFRIES/SPIES Master commands; rig an aircraft for both FRIES and SPIES operations correctly; rigthe primary and alternate SPIES harnesses correctly; commit no safety violations; and executeday and night operations for FRIES (with and without carrying a load) and SPIES with aircraft.”Graduates of FRIES/SPIES Masters Course are expected to perform Master duties attheir unit and ensure proper safety protocols are followed. This is why Lightning AcademyFRIES/SPIES Master Course Instructors are constantly training and enhancing their skills - toensure every graduate is properly equipped with the knowledge and attention to detail neededto safety and diligently execute Master duties.In 2016, the 25th Inf. Div. identified capability gaps to insert and extract Soldiers inlocations where landing zones are limited and restricted due to the dense jungle vegetation andwater obstacles. The Division determined an accredited course was needed to instruct andcertify FRIES and SPIES Masters to fill this capability gap. Units certified and capable ofexecuting FRIES/SPIES operations provide the 25 th Infantry Division enhanced mobility in jungleenvironments, and the ability to compensate for a lack of suitable landing zones.A real-world scenario in which FRIES/SPIES Master Courses are utilized is in terraininundated with water. “Helicopters cannot land in a swamp, lake, or ocean, but Soldiers can stillbe inserted or extracted in these environments using FRIES/SPIES techniques,” 1 st Lt. TommyMaddox, lightning academy air assault school platoon leader. “Any scenario involving unusualsurfaces that limit the aircraft’s ability to land and deploy Soldiers such as an urban rooftop or arocking ship are examples where FRIES/SPIES techniques could be—and have been—executedsuccessfully.”“Additionally, as taught in Lightning Academy’s Jungle Operations Training Course or‘Jungle School’, tropical environments of all varieties always involve massive amounts of water.The Jungle environment is inseparable from the water,” said Maddox. “FRIES/SPIES Operationsallow 25 th ID units the ability to overcome these vegetation, terrain and water obstacles as theyadvance on enemy fronts or more importantly, insert and extract reconnaissance elementsgathering critical intelligence in remote locations.”“FRIES/SPIES is a ‘gentlemen’s course,’ unlike Air Assault; therefore, a prospectiveStudent can expect a more patient and welcoming atmosphere from our highly trained cadre,”said Clark. “Though attention to detail is important, this course achieves a 100% enrollment tograduation rate nearly every class. Students should pay attention to everything the cadreinstruct, and pay special mind to safety requirements of FRIES/SPIES operation.” “This coursewill truly get your adrenaline pumping. Once you know safety has been accomplished, it is okayto have fun and enjoy the ride as you soar 200 feet above gulches and fast rope onto SchofieldBarracks rooftops.”For more information on all classes offered by 25th Inf. Div.’s Lightning Academy, visit