86th LRS helps Marines, Soldiers stay combat ready

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron loaded up a KC-130J with seven tons of containers and heavy equipment for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) “Otis” to drop in Germany Monday and Tuesday.

According to the crew of nine, without this specific training their ability to carry out real-world missions would stop. The flight crew consisted of three pilots, four load masters and two crew chiefs.

However, the Marines weren’t the only ones getting in on the action; the 86th LRS was able to get in some training as well.

“Anytime you get exposure to a sister service, it helps,” said Senior Airman Ryan Tooley, 86th LRS aerial delivery specialist. “This is my first time working with Marines and they have a different model C-130 that most of us aren’t familiar with.”

But that didn’t stop the 86th LRS team from providing the timely support needed to ensure the Marines were taken care of.

The 86th LRS aerial delivery section partnered with the 86th Operations Support Squadron joint airdrop inspectors and the 37th Airlift Squadron central scheduling team. Together they provided simultaneous logistical planning and support to sustain airdrop training for the Marine Corp unit, the 5th Quarter Masters Kaiserslautern Detachment, and the 86th Airlift Wing’s standard air drop training schedule.

While performing three concurrent operations, the aerial delivery personnel rigged and loaded seven short tons of air drop training and real world assets, including two Humvees prepared by the 5th QM to support local training, said Master Sgt. Travis Owen, 86 LRS combat readiness section chief.

This doubled the workload normally supported by the 86th LRS and compressed a traditional five-day workweek into two days of work due to host nation holidays and a family day.

“This was a great opportunity for us to focus on rigger training and loads,” said Senior Airman Joshua Bowers, 86th LRS air transportation rigger. “Training missions like this increase ties with our sister services.”

“It is always a lot of fun working with the Air Force,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Zemlick, VMGR-252 loadmaster. “They are really professional and instill confidence in the crew. They tell you exactly what they are doing.”

Corporal Zemlick added that communication is key to a successful mission.

“(Good communication) might save money or it might just save a life,” he said.

“Otis” is stationed out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and is currently operating out of Sigonella Naval Air Station, Sicily. They are part of the NATO and naval air operations in the Mediterranean.