By Pvt. Sharla Perrin, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJuly 23, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - A small group of military vehicles sat in a large field, thick with tall grass. In the distance, a humvee slowly made its way over the rough terrain toward the group.
These vehicles, with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division were acting as perimeter security; part of an air re-supply on Fort Hood July 16. The battalion received Meals - Ready to Eat and water as part of a training exercise designed to help the Soldiers of the battalion prepare for similar events during their upcoming deployment.
"Today we dropped MRE's, rations, and supplies by air to the units out here," Alvarado said, referring to 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
"We do this is to train pilots, the units, as well as transportation [units]," he said. "People may not realize how much coordination and how much planning goes into one mission."
"The most important element of this mission is the perimeter, which is essential to the whole mission because we can't do the drop of supplies without it," Alvarado said.
"Once we establish the perimeter, we tell the pilots that it's secure," he said. "The pilots come around and drop the supplies for the unit."
This is a key event in the training of the Soldiers because units receive supplies by air every day in Iraq, Alvarado said. "If some units need supplies, we can't always depend on vehicles, so we rely on air drops."
Soldiers placed a large orange flag in the field, to serve as a target for the pilot of the plane. The air crew needs quite a bit of expertise to make sure their cargo gets to the right place on the ground, said Alvarado.
"Hitting that target takes a lot of practice, rehearsals, and planning on the pilot," he said. "That's what they do, that's part of what their job entails."
Formerly a scout, Alvarado has had experience with these maneuvers before.
"In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the initial invasion, we secured Baghdad International Airport so supplies could get through. This is a small demonstration of what these Soldiers will do down range," he said.
"We want to ensure that there isn't any enemy contact in the area so when they make the drop the plane is safe and won't be damaged at all," said Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Young, a platoon sergeant with Co. D. "We watch for guys with rocket propelled grenades or snipers who could harm someone while we're trying to execute the mission."
"We want to try and do this when the threat level is low because it minimizes enemy and friendly casualty," he said.
"Once everything was situated and under control with the area secure, everything went according to plan," he said. "Thank you for supporting us and we will continue to do what we do best."