86th Logistics Readiness Squadron gets ‘riggy’ with it

Story and photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen Jacob Selsing (left) and Peter Zuniga, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery specialists, tighten straps to secure an airdrop Dec. 29 on Ramstein. Airdrops are rigged within specific guidelines to ensure the proper and timely deployment of a parachute.

Cargo planes roar through the sky to make airdrops that seem to always hit their marks with precision.

This feat is accomplished through constant training and carefully planned pallet packing perfectly performed by Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing.

Aerial delivery specialists from the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron are masters of their craft, which requires them to construct pallets, load supplies, pack parachutes and ready the entire package for drop.

“Our job is pretty comprehensive and requires us to be versatile,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Price, 86 LRS NCO in charge of aerial delivery. “We build some pallets and containers from scratch, then we pack it making sure to evenly distribute the weight. After that, and most important, we pack and rig the parachute for the package.”

The airdrops are rigged with multiple knots, ties and straps that control the sequence of everything that happens after the package is released from the plane.

“For the packages to be approved for drop, it must be inspected by a certified rigger,” Price said. “This is to make sure all the intricacies are done correctly and the package drops as it is supposed to.”

Airmen tasked to the Rigging Barn are certified to rig through the Army Parachute Rigger’s Course Phase I, which focuses on cargo parachutes.

Although dependent on the requests from C-130J Super Hercules aircrews from the 37th Airlift Squadron, Airmen from the 86 LRS can push out 10 to 16 pallets rigged for drop in any given week.

“We maintain a constant workload for loadmasters to continue their training and maintain their qualifications,” said Airman 1st Class Peter Zuniga, 86 LRS aerial delivery specialist journeyman. “Loadmasters are ready to complete a mission at a moment’s notice because of us. That’s how we contribute airpower to the greatest Air Force in the world.”