By Amy PerryJuly 8, 2016
FORT LEE, Va. (July 7, 2016) -- The Quartermaster School's Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department hosted the 150th Triannual Airdrop Malfunction and Safety Analysis Review Board June 28-30.
More than 120 military members and civilians attended the event, commonly referred to as a Malfunction Review Board.
The purposes of the MRB is to reduce malfunctions through analysis and education, pass along technical rigging and logistic information, and improve joint relations through dialogue and shared lessons learned, said Al Wagner, an airdrop technical writer at ADFSD who also served as the facilitator and a subject matter expert for the MRB.
"We host this board to find the trends in personnel or equipment aerial delivery malfunctions and to save lives and high-dollar equipment," he said. "The malfunctions and incidents are too many to handle if it's done less than three times a year."
Breakout sessions were held to review the malfunction and incident reports that occurred between February and May of this year. During that period, there were 25,000 military free-fall parachute jumps with two incidents and six malfunctions officially reported; 73,049 military static line parachutes jumps with 12 incidents and 14 malfunctions officially reported; and 4,074 equipment airdrops with 13 malfunctions and four incidents officially reported.
"Airdrop is a very complex and complicated arena," said Wagner. "The personal parachutes are very technical and require riggers and jumper's proficiency.
"The board is able to ferret out trends, problems and deficiencies in the field, headquarters, and logistic support. If we see a trend, it enables us to go back and fix either the packing or the jump procedures to reduce injuries or save lives. The same is true with equipment. When we have a Humvee destroyed, it costs high-dollars and resources. We have a chance to identify a manufacturer problem and then go back and make them pay for damages incurred."
A vital point of the board is bringing together the four sister services -- and sometimes international partners like the officer from Singapore who attended this session -- to have them share their experiences with aerial delivery.
Air Force Master Sgt. Lance J. Stump, the group tactic superintendent in the 317th Operation Support Squadron, 317th Air Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, said it was great to come together as a community.
"This event is beneficial," said Stump, who last attended nearly 10 years ago. "I came here to gain some knowledge and learn what's going on throughout the community to see what information we could take back that could help us. Specifically, I learned about ways we could get needed equipment."
Another attendee -- Warrant Officer Lloyd Johnson, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C. -- agreed the board was beneficial because of the knowledge gained.
"There's always information on different malfunctions or incidents that happen," said Johnson, who has attended at least 10 boards. "There are lessons learned from those situations, especially as the parachutes change over the years. The emphasis on training -- especially working on keeping our spacing during jumpmaster training -- is great. We also learned about the supply system through the Defense Logistics Agency."