AL ASAD, Iraq --
Convoys provide most of the supplies to service members throughout Iraq, but for some units, vehicle delivery isn’t an option.
Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 1st Marine Logistics Group and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing conducted an aerial resupply delivery to Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 in northwestern Iraq, Dec. 27.
“The only way that we can re-supply Reconnaissance Marines is by conducting air deliveries,” said Cpl. Mathew J. Ladd, air chief, CLB-2, 1st MLG. “Bravo Co. is limited to what they can carry because they need to maintain maneuverability to complete their mission.”
Recon Marines have to operate under the radar to avoid detection. By doing so, they’re limited on the equipment and supplies they bring with them when conducting missions “outside the wire.”
“We can deliver anything that recon units need to carry out and accomplish their tasks,” said Ladd, 21, Bowling Green, Ky. “It’s the only way they can receive their supplies and equipment.”
Because most reconnaissance operations aren’t near main supply routes and require the Marines to perform while keeping a low profile, delivering supplies by convoy would give away their position.
“By doing air resupply missions, we’re also not putting anybody at risk who’s on the road,” said Maj. Brian J. Gilbertson, VMGR-352, MAG-11, 3rd MAW, executive officer/pilot. “When delivering supplies by air, it lowers the personnel threat, mission completion time and leaves a small footprint.”
As soon as the KC-130J neared the Bravo Co. position, they lowered the plane to several hundred feet above the ground, opened the ramp, and then accelerated at an incline so the bundles would slide down the rollers and out the back of the aircraft.
“The parachutes initiate right as the bundles fall out of the plane,” said Gilbertson, 33, Waukesha, Wis. “It takes roughly 400 ft. for the parachutes to fully bloom.”
Once the four 1,500 pound bundles containing food, water and vehicle parts landed, Bravo Co. collected the supplies and folded the parachutes so they could be used again.
“We roughly conduct one air resupply a month,” said 1st Lt. Christopher S. Frederick, 25, Springfield, Va., CLB-2 future operations officer, 1st MLG.
Combat Logistics Battalion 2 provides western Iraq with all the air resupply deliveries.