POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland — A C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base airdropped U.S. Army paratroopers from Grafenwöhr over Estonia during an initial training mission July 8.
Aircrews from the 37th Airlift Squadron flew from Powidz Air Base, Poland, to pick up more than 50 Soldiers from the 1-91 Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), at Amari Air Base, Estonia.
“We went over our basic sustain airborne training, where we go over exiting the bird and proper parachute landing falls — all in preparation for today, where we rig up, load up into the bird and do a couple passes and exit the bird,” said Cpl. Brian James Rushford, B Troop senior line medic, 1-91 CAV, 173rd IBCT (A).
The soldiers don’t get out of the plane by themselves, though.
C-130Js require two loadmasters to assist in personnel drops to ensure the safety of the aircrews and the paratroopers. Before each drop, loadmasters prepare the aircraft by changing the configuration, setting up anchor cables and setting up a retrieval system.
“This training helps us maintain our proficiencies and just being ready for any real world operations that we may have to do,” said Airman 1st Class Ralph Colas, 37th AS loadmaster. “Out of today’s training, I was able to log some currencies that we have to maintain for our semiannual and as well as seeing all the rigging and all the things we have to do again and again. It helps
keep it fresh in my mind.”
Three C-130Js from the 37th AS are based at Powidz AB to conduct training and focus on maintaining joint readiness while strengthening interoperability. Through these relationships and engagements with our allies, the U.S. and NATO demonstrate their shared commitment to a peaceful, stable and secure Europe.
“Without the Air Force we can’t do our operations. They have a crucial part to this,” Rushford said. “They check the air. They fly the plane. Basically all we have to do is jump out of it. We’re very grateful for them to come out here and fly the bird for us. They make sure it’s safe and allow us to jump out.”