CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Deployed Soldiers representing the 1st Theater Sustainment Command are successfully executing joint airdrop missions here with support from Army riggers in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
Recently, pallets loaded with key medical supplies, food and other materiel were delivered in three drops to different locations, confirmed Warrant Officer Michael Romeo, who works in the air section of Support Operations – an element of the 1st TSC Operational Command Post at Camp Arifjan. The mission’s C-130J Hercules aircrew was from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron-352, Detachment A, known as the “Raiders.”
“These missions are definitely a high priority,” said Romeo, a member of the 165th Quartermaster Company, Georgia National Guard, who is serving with the Army Reserve's 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Indianapolis. The 310th ESC acts as the staff for the 1st TSC-OCP.
Romeo, who was on the mission as an observer, said the airdrops are a regular part of 1st TSC-OCP’s support for forward-deployed personnel – most importantly providing essential medical and food supplies that are perishable.
“They will send in an airdrop request for review, and then it comes to me,” Romeo elaborated. “The biggest thing we do as logisticians and sustainers is make sure we are getting the right equipment and supplies to the people who need it. Using aerial delivery is a quick and easy way to do that.”
The 101st Sustainment Brigade, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 151st Quartermaster Detachment from Fort Bragg, N.C., also supported the airdrop operation, he said. Marine Gunnery Sgt. David Hoyt, the loadmaster for the flight, said he was impressed by the Army riggers.
“They are quick, focused and do a good job,” he said. “They understand we have time constraints and get the job done.”
Spc. Christian Ramos from the 151st is a team leader for airdrop system, equipment and repair. Once the pallets were loaded onto the aircraft, the Guam native said he and the other riggers used strings and rubber bands to attach the parachutes to static lines connected to the left and right sides of the aircraft.
“The static line is connected to the G-14 clevis. Upon deployment, it will pull the parachute off,” Ramos said. “The strings I was attaching with the rubber or retainer band are called anti-oscillation ties. They prevent the static line from moving around in flight and getting tangled.”
The G-14 is a U-shaped piece of metal that slides on the static line, like a ring on a curtain rod. When the pallet reaches the plane’s back door, the rubber band snaps from the weight of the pallet and the parachute deploys.
Ramos said this airdrop mission was his first as a joint airdrop inspector. “It means I am inspecting the loads and ensuring that (they’re) free of deficiencies, which reduces the likelihood of a malfunction so the guys on the ground get the supplies they need."
Spc. Hope Mastroberti, another 151st QM Detachment Soldier, contributed newly acquired knowledge and skills from the Joint Air Load Inspector Course she attended during this deployment. The Crystal River, Fla., native said she loves being a rigger, a job she has had for two years.
“I love the opportunities I’m provided in this field. I pack personal parachutes, and I pack heavy rigging parachutes,” she acknowledged about the career field that is essential to the Army’s ability to perform airborne and aerial delivery operations.