Joint training maintains proficiency

by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 37th Airlift Squadron completed a weeklong airdrop training exercise with a 10-bundle container delivery system drop at a drop zone near Grafenwöhr, Germany, March 16.

Ten-bundle container delivery systems were dropped in order to support a field-training exercise for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy. It also gave pilots and loadmasters an opportunity to practice this particular airdrop.

“We went to Grafenwöhr for a mass CDS drop, which we don’t get to do very often,” said Capt. Marci Walton, 37th AS C-130J instructor pilot. “The Army was doing some training that we were able to use as an opportunity to practice doing these drops. We had one of our guys on the ground to help call winds and make sure that we were good to drop the CDS.”

The 37th AS resupplied the Soldiers on the ground with 10 pallets of consumables, giving them what they needed to carry out their training.

“The 173rd ABCT has been out here training for a week,” said Tech. Sgt. Kepa Kahihikolo, 37th AS loadmaster. “Today we dropped supplies like meals-ready-to-eat and water for them so they have it while out in the field.”

Dropping the CDS on a drop zone like this one took a lot of pre-flight planning and two passes over the drop zone.

“A small drop zone like this requires a lot of mission planning,” Walton said. “We are only able to drop a certain amount of bundles for a drop zone like this.”

Although missions like this require so much planning, they are chances that aircrew look forward to because they offer a challenge and a chance to practice techniques used while deployed.

“Any chance we get to do this type of joint training with the Army is a good thing for us,” Walton said. “This is how airdrop missions are carried out downrange, so we’re glad we have the opportunity to practice for them beforehand.”