Ramstein certifies first-ever drop zone

Capt. Jennifer Lovett
Kaiserslautern American

The skies above Ramstein will soon be filling with parachutes and simulated airdrop training bundles.  

The 86th Operations Group recently certified the base’s first drop zone for the 37th Airlift Squadron’s 17 C-130 Hercules aircraft.

“Before, we had to fly over an hour away to use one of our certified drop zones,” said Capt. John Coy, 86th Operations Support Squadron wing tactics, who has been leading the drop zone endeavor for nearly a year. 

“Having a DZ right here on base enables the 37th AS to do more tactical aircraft training.”

Air dropping cargo and people into hostile areas is a prime mission for Herk.

“We have to maintain personnel drop proficiency every 6 months,” said Captain Coy.  “Flying around the flagpole doesn’t use as much gas or time so we’re able to do more.”

It took the 86th OG only four months to develop the idea of a local drop zone and have it certified.

“Once we decided to locate the DZ in between the two runways and processed all the paperwork, it had to be certified by Col. (Hank) Sanders (86th OG commander) and an Army major from Wiesbaden, Germany,” said Captain Coy.

The drop zone spans 1,200 yards long and 700 yards wide and can hold eight to 10 people on one pass.

One customer, who will frequent the drop zone very often will be the 786th Security Forces Squadron.

“We maintain our jump proficiency with the 37th quarterly because one of our core missions is dropping into uncertain environments,” said Capt. Ty Brown, 786 SFS.  

“The benefit for having it right here is that we always have someone on the drop zone to ensure safety and now it is a lot easier logistically with the DZ right here.”