The “McGuire Rig” Extraction System


The “McGuire Rig” was used to extract soldiers from the jungles of Vietnam. It would be suspended from a helicopter and used to extract soldiers from areas without a suitable pick-up zone. It was simple, inexpensive, and effective. Although less comfortable than the STABO (Short Tactical airborne operations) harness, it did not require the soldier to carry any special equipment.

It was designed by Sergeant Major Charles T. McGuire, a member of Project DELTA, a Special Forces reconnaissance project.From the pilot’s standpoint, performing an extraction using a McGuire Rig required intense concentration. Once the soldiers were in the rig, the pilot would attempt to hover straight up, but with the nearest ground reference over 100 feet away, it was difficult to discern when the chopper was moving. There was the distinct possibility, therefore, that the soldier(s) would be dragged through tree limbs during the extraction.CPT John W. “Jack” Green, III, flying a UH-1B for the 145th Airlift Platoon in support of Project Delta, was the first pilot to utilize the McGuire Rig in an emergency extraction. In mid-1966, 145th was blended into the 281st AHC, which then assumed the mission of supporting Project Delta. Due to intense training with the MACV Recondo School and on-the-job training with Project Delta, the 281st AHC became highly proficient in using the McGuire Rig.


  1. Not to be an ass,

    STABO does not stand for (Short Tactical airborne operations).

    It’s named for the 3 SF guys that developed it.

  2. STABO is not an acronym for ‘Stabilized Airborne Body Operations’ or Short Tactical Airborne Operations! STABO was invented by three Special Forces soldiers whose last names were Stevens, Knabb and Roberts and it was much better extraction system than the McGuire Rig. It was a system used primarily to extract men on the ground each wearing a special STABO parachute type harness as load bearing equipment. The end of the rope with attachment fasteners was dropped through thick vegetation or trees to the men below. Once hooked up, they would be lifted up by the rope that was securely rigged to the floor rings in the helicopter. Each man had his own rope with snap fasteners and usually a maximum of three soldiers were extracted at one time. The belly man’s job was to verbally guide the pilots as the men were pulled up and out through the trees without dragging them into limbs or entangling the ropes. STABO extractions were used in situations that did not permit a helicopter landing.

    We used a ¾ inch nylon rope was about 120 feet long and had much less stretch than the green 7/16th inch nylon rope more commonly used for rappelling.

    • I should have edited that part before I posted it. That error was from one of the SOFA facebook groups to be honest haha. Thats where I pued the image and text from.


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