By Pfc. Holli Cook, 25th Sustainment Brigade PAOFebruary 10, 2016
KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii (Feb. 10, 2016) -- Sustainment Soldiers, of the 25th Sustainment Brigade, conducted a joint operation with the U.S. Air Force 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron/Combat Mobility Flight utilizing C-17 aircraft to execute a container delivery system, or CDS, supply aerial drop to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Feb. 8. The mission was part of the 25th Infantry Division's Lightning Forge exercise.
The drop included 450 Water-in-a-Box, or WiaB, water bladders and 48 cases of Meals, Ready to Eat for the 2nd Brigade Soldiers. The loads were dropped into Kahuku Training Area by two C-17s out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The Soldiers, of the 25th Sust. Brigade, have been honing their skills with the WiaB system since its initial integration into U.S. Army Pacific, or USARPAC, and U.S. Army South early last year. The WiaB uses a water purification system with a self-packaging water trailer. Capt. Daniel Dexter and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Morris, of the Lightning Support Operations Field Services Section, used the CDS drop to validate the survivability of the bladders during and after an aerial resupply.
"The survivability of the water bladders enhances our expeditionary operations to provide support and services to ensure freedom of action, extend our operational reach, and serve as a combat multiplier," Morris said. "None of the water bladders were damaged so this solidifies the effectiveness of the WiaB system."
Morris said all cargo is loaded several hours before the drop onto the aircraft and more inspections are completed. During the airdrop, ground personnel receive and recover the supplies and airdrop equipment. The logistics of each airdrop mission is unique in regards to personnel required and supplies.
"Support teams can range from a few individuals to several troops with trucks and operators depending on the scale of the mission," Dexter said.
Morris emphasized how essential Army sustainment personnel are for aerial drop mission success. "The Air Force can provide the accuracy of the drop but it is our job to ensure the supplies survive the descent and remain useable products when they get in the hands of the warfighter."
Aerial supply delivery has played a vital role in military operations throughout history. According to Morris, the container delivery system has been around for decades providing much needed supplies to U.S. Soldiers and its allies in the Ardennes Forrest region of Belgium, Khe Sanh in Vietnam, and Afghanistan, to name a few.
These aerial capabilities and technological advances the Army has perfected over the years, can also be utilized for other operations, such as humanitarian assistance.
"Riggers can provide the necessary supplies to isolated locations decimated by natural disasters where all other modes or transportation of supplies cannot go," Dexter said. "Troops today fight an enemy who is unpredictable and quickly adaptable, which means troops need a resupply distribution system as capable and flexible as the enemy is. Aerial delivery gives the Army this logistics factor to sustain the fight. This helps Soldiers complete their mission when cut off from conventional supply routes."
"Conducting aerial delivery operations gives the Soldier the fighting chance to beat the enemy in any remote location," Dexter said. "Aerial delivery can make a significant difference as the Army transitions for the future."