STABO extraction

During a STABO extraction up to four people can be extracted by attaching a line that is hooked up to a helicopter to a harness worn by the operator. For a STABO extraction no special skill are required.

A STABO Extraction is similar to a sling loading in air assault except the cargo is people that are being sling loaded under the helicopter. The helicopter never lands but lowers a cable that attaches to a special harness worn by the people who are extracted. The helicopter then lifts them out of the area. If more than one person is being lifted out with a STABO rig at one time then they link arms together to stabilize themselves against the wind resistance. The extraction gear consisted of a harness that had to be worn by the operator and attached to a rope 50 to 62 metres long with a strap type saddle sewn to the end, it had two hold straps. The operator had to hold himself in the rig and it was difficult to get into, especially for wounded troopers.

Known mishaps are:

  • Cable snaps and the people who are extracted fall.
  • The cable or the straps of the harness break.
  • Collision with an object: The pilot errors and the people who are extracted are slammed into an object.


The STABO extraction was developed and built by SGM McGuire, SFC Clifford Roberts and other members of Project Delta to quickly lift an individual from the jungle by helicopter. and tested by the 145th Aviation Platoon.

The gear was tested at the Special Forces Recondo School in 1968 on 281st aircraft. It was however not used by Project Delta until early 1970. CPT John W. "Jack" Green, III then a pilot with the 145th made the first emergency extraction for Project Delta with a McGuire Rig.

During the Vietnam war the STABO was a means of quick extraction where the landing of a helicopter was not possible. Ropes were lowered from the helicopter, then attached to the D-rings on the STABO -- and the operative was effectively yanked from the jungle, suspended by the ropes to an area where the helicopter could safely land. Naturally, this was an exceedingly dangerous means of extraction -- but often preferable to the alternative of staying on the ground under enemy fire.

Homepage | Up | Back |