ARMY AMMUNITION DEPOT HAWTHORNE, Nev. --
Marines deployed to Afghanistan often conduct operations “outside the wire” for extended periods of time and require more items than they can carry. Because of the country’s rugged terrain, convoys are not always able to make it to the Marines — that’s where the Corps’ air support comes into play.
Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., took part in an air resupply operation aboard the depot here Tuesday.
Capt. Brandon Stockwell, the air officer for 1/4, said the operation ran smoothly despite high winds and sheets of sand whirling through the air.
“Usually the guys in the air will make a couple passes to make sure they see the drop zone,” said Stockwell, a Lafayette, Ind., native. “Today they identified the DZ and dropped the resupply on the first pass.”
3rd Marine Air Wing personnel from Marine Corps Air station Miramar, Calif., flew a KC-130J Super Tanker to drop four pallets of Meals, Ready-to-Eat for the battalion. The battalion is currently going through the Mountain Warriors Course at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., and needed the MREs throughout the rest of their training evolution.
Capt. Mike Ford, the commander of H and S Co., said operations like these are taking place more often overseas.
“Air resupplies are conducted a lot more in Afghanistan than Iraq,” said the Brownsville, Texas, native. “Marines are in more remote locations with higher enemy activity, which makes a vehicle convoy impossible, so this is a great battle drill for what could possibly take place.”
The aircraft flew in low, only 600 feet above the ground before the pallets were dropped.
“It’s real quick,” Stockwell said. “The Marines’ have to get in and get out as fast as possible to avoid as much attention from the enemy as possible.”
Once the pallets were dropped, motor transportation Marines rushed to the DZ and fought through the sandstorm to load them onto 7-ton trucks.
Cpl. James Villegas, a motor transport operator with H and S Co., said the weather made for the most realistic training his fellow Marines could get.
“This reminds me of Afghanistan,” said the Greeley, Colo., native, about the storm. “We had a lot of these operations when I deployed with 2/7 last year.”
After about 30 minutes, the sand-covered Marines finished loading the last pallet and made their way back to camp. The battalion is slated to complete the Mountain Warrior training evolution Wednesday.