HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - --
With the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, there are places a combat logistics patrol cannot reach in time to resupply units in need, so Marines air-drop the supplies to troops wherever they need them.
Air delivery specialists from 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) and 2nd Marine Logistics Group teamed up to load a C-130 Hercules cargo plane with food and water to be flown to Marines in the fight, from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, April 2.
"To make sure that out-of-reach [forward operating bases] receive their supplies even when [combat logistics patrols] can't get to them, we resupply them by air," said Lance Cpl. Jorge L. Lopez, air delivery specialist with 2nd MLG.
According to Staff Sgt. Crystal M. Salinas, air delivery specialist with 1st MLG (FWD), units are starting to use this method of delivery more often to get food, water and barrels of fuel resupplied to units in the field more quickly and efficiently.
Resupplying troops by air eliminates the threat of improvised explosive devices, which are the number one danger to troops in Afghanistan.
"I love my job," said Salinas. "If a [combat logistics patrol] can't go out and resupply those Marines that are on the frontlines, [we] can do it."
Depending on how fast they work, the Marines can put together a pallet of supplies in about 10 minutes, said Lopez, 19, from Los Angeles. A C-130 can carry up to 25,000 pounds worth of cargo, and the container delivery systems can get packed in about two to three hours. On the day of the drop, Marines will attach parachutes, completing the containerized bundles for the drop.
"The Air Force helps us out a lot," said Lopez. "They let us use their equipment to complete our mission."
Air Force personnel support the Marines by allowing them to use a 10,000-pound capacity forklift to load container delivery systems with supplies like Meals Ready-to-Eat onto the plane.
It's just one more way 1st MLG (FWD) Marines are keeping troops on the ground mission-ready.
"I'm very proud of my Marines tonight, they have done an outstanding job," said Salinas as the Marines finished loading the last bit of cargo. "All my Marines that I have here are extremely motivated to do the job. They feel the same way that I do. As long as those Marines who are on the frontline right now receive water and chow, that's all that matters."