13th SC(E) trains to supply by air
Story and Photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
As the Sherpa neared the drop zone, two Soldiers assumed the ready position and, at the jumpmaster’s signal, they pushed their cargo out the door as the plane buzzed the tree tops at 150 feet.
Soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) conducted aerial resupply operations June 12 at the Antelope Drop Zone here at Fort Hood.
The Soldiers dropped food, water, and other supplies frequently requested by units on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, on an area the size of a football field. The Low Cost, Low Altitude drop is not only accurate, it saves the Army time, money, and personnel.
“The air drop is a much more effective way of getting supplies to the Soldiers who need them because in Afghanistan the troops are in the valleys and the insurgents have the high ground so it’s much easier to swoop in drop a package and swoop out then to send in a convoy that could get ambushed and pinned down,” said Warrant Officer Orlando Velez, air drop system technician, Support Operations, 13th SC(E).
Compared to the cost of mobilizing an entire convoy to get supplies to Soldiers in Forward Operating Bases, the LCLA drop is far less costly. The $225 system has a parachute, two straps, and two D-rings.
“It’s a very cost effective system,” said Velez, “The equipment is recyclable so it can be used over and over, but if the Soldiers can’t recover it, it can be left where it fell, no big deal.”
In addition to the LCLA, Soldiers from the Army Reserve’s 345th Tactical Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) and the Army National Guard’s 294th Quartermaster Company (Airborne) participated in an airborne jump, effectively proving the post’s new airborne capabilities. Since last year, Fort Hood has sustained airborne operations at a level not seen in the previous decade.
Velez said, “I love jumping, this is probably my hundredth time and it’s just as great as the first.”
Velez, who was enlisted for 12 years before becoming a warrant officer, was the coordinator for the exercise and acted as an advisor to the Reserve and National Guard troops for the airborne operations.
“This training is really a testament to Fort Hood’s renewed airborne capabilities,” said Velez. “And it’s great that we can help train these guys for their upcoming deployments.”
Soldiers from the Army Reserve and Army National Guard jump from a C-23 Sherpa during aerial resupply operations training and airborne operations training June 12 conducted by the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at the Antelope Drop Zone here at Fort Hood.