Training Platoon (Pl Trg) is part of the Training Centre for
Paratroopers (TrgC Para) and has its barracks in Schaffen, a
borough of Diest.
It is a
part of the Parachuting Company (Pchage Cie), together with the
Air Delivery Platoon (Pl RavAir), the Pathfinder Platoon (Pl PF)
and the MAOT (Mobile Air Operations Team).
Platoon itself consists of 21 despatchers (parachute jump
instructors) who work in five different cells. The command cell
exists from the OES (Officier d’Entraînement au Saut) and the
IES (Instructeur d’Entraînement au saut); in short the commander
and his second in command.
AO (automatic opening) is the largest cell, which is responsible
for the basic parachuting course ‘A’ (BAP), the different
refresher courses AO, the basic course B Para (BBP), the Junior
Para Course (for adolescents between 16 and 19), the P3 (annual
refreshment for the Para-Commando units) and executing the daily
Para-Commando candidates are allowed to participate the ’Para A’
parachuting course (BAP). They must
execute eight jumps, first from the balloon with and without
equipment, both during daytime and at night. Afterwards the
candidates jump out of the C130 Hercules. By the end of the
course, they need to do one night jump with equipment, in sticks
of 30 paratroopers simultaneously, the famous charette.
soldier of the Belgian Defence Forces can request to participate
the Para ‘B’ (BBP). They make four day
jumps from the balloon. The students
of the Royal Military Academy can also do this course. They do
two balloon and two airplane parachute jumps.
Teenagers between 16 and 20 years can go for the Junior Para
brevet. They execute four balloon
jumps, with a non-military character.
A P3 is
an annual refresher course where a Para-Commando company reviews
the different parachute jump techniques. During the course, they
execute operational jumps on DZ’s (drop zones) all over the
despatchers who are part of the cell BO (the free fall cell) are
also jump master AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) and they are
responsible for the courses HA (High Altitude < 12000Ft) and
VHA (Very High Altitude < 25000Ft , with oxygen bottles), the
refresher BO, the training periods in Belgium and abroad. They
also conduct the tandem master course. These courses are only
open for despatcher candidates, RavAir, Pathfinder and Special
DZ, with its two ODZ (officer drops zone), makes reconnaissances
of the DZ, is responsible for the DZ Section (weather, medical
support and signallers) during the parachute drop, takes care of
the used parachutes and/or transport of personnel after the
jump. Because the ODZ has the up-to-date weather situation at
the place of the jump, he has the very last word whether the
jump takes place or is cancelled.
Parachute Jump Instructor Course, with its two instructors, is
conducted once a year. It lasts six months. After this intense
half year, the candidate despatchers become instructors AO and
jumpmasters BO. If they succeed, they can wear the parachute
jump instructor wing. After two months
probation at the Training Centre, the young despatchers return
to their respective units.