MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
“Raider one-nine this is D-Z control,” crackled the radio while a handful of Marines wait for an aerial resupply.
When a KC-130J passes by at roughly 800 feet, dropping hundreds of pounds of supplies, while Marines coordinate the drop zone up to 500 meters away, it makes you glad professionals run the show.
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat air resupply was just another training evolution for Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Combat Logistics Regiment 17 and Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center’s Pickel Meadows August 18, 2011.
“The pilots [for VMGR 352] dropped four bundles of container delivery systems,” said Staff Sgt. James Nine, a platoon sergeant with Landing Support Company, 1st Air Delivery, Combat Logistics Regiment 17.
The Marines with 1st AD took the reins for the training and guided 1/7 toward the proper techniques in setting up and coordinating an aerial drop zone.
“It went pretty good, it was pretty exciting,” said 2nd Lt. Warren Kurz, a logistics officer with H&S Company, 1/7, commenting on his first performance after coordinating a drop zone.
“We put a lot of coordination into this,” said Kurz, a native of Millersville, Md. “The [1st AD] guys were freaking awesome; they really helped me get a better understanding and grasp of how to do an operation like this.”
“Aerial resupplies are a very common thing in theater,” Kurz added. “It takes the trucks off the roads so they can avoid improvised explosive devices. It’s an easy way to resupply [Marines] in a hostile environment, or non hostile environment, rapidly.”
Nine and his Marines carefully explained the importance of properly packing a parachute for later use while in country.
“A lot of times in country we were having problems with [Marines] cutting the equipment up and we’d get back useless equipment,” said Nine. “If we could get the word out there on how to properly receive [an aerial resupply] that was one of our goals.”
1st AD explained the parachute systems can be reusable if recovered correctly.
“It is reusable,” said Nine, who has coordinated more than two million pounds of supplies being dropped. “At about six thousand dollars apiece, if we can get the equipment back it’s cheaper.”
1st Battalion, 7th Marines, packed the remaining parachutes loaded the MREs and headed back out to the rigors of the MWTC.