MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with Air Delivery, Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, put in a lot of work preparing bundles of supplies before they are put on an aircraft and delivered to Marines in the fight.
From the minute they receive an order, the Marines work quickly to put together packages of food, water and equipment to be air delivered to Marines in austere areas. Marines conducted air delivery training here, Aug. 15, to ensure they are ready for this on deployment.
It starts with a phone call from the unit that needs support. Once Air Delivery receives the order, they begin preparing the air delivery systems by cutting skid boards as a base upon which to place the items. They then put slabs of cardboard padding called “honeycomb” on top of the base to absorb the impact when the pallet hits the ground. Next, the Marines inspect the A-22 bags, which are placed around the supplies in order to hold them securely in place, ensuring that they’re serviceable and that the nets are in proper working order. Once the bundles are inspected one last time, they are loaded onto an aircraft and sent to its destination.
In order to ensure the packages land safely on the ground, various parachutes are used.
“Depending on what you’re dropping, that’s what decides on what parachute you use,” said Cpl. Samuel Church, air delivery specialist, Air Delivery, LS Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG.
The Marines practiced packaging bundles of Meals Ready to Eat, by using a G-12 parachute, which is larger and descends more slowly in order to ensure a softer landing for fragile items. For items that are not easily broken, like tires, the Marines use the 26-foot high-velocity parachute that descends at a faster rate than the G-12.
The training the Marines conducted is “pretty much the same” to what they can expect in Afghanistan, said Sgt. Samual Helt, air delivery specialist, Air Delivery, LS Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG. “Out there, we might not have the supplies we need, so there [are] times we may drop it without this [A-22] bag; it would just be a net. It’s just getting our hands on material, that’s the only difference out there.”
Air delivery plays an important role during deployments because there are areas that trucks can’t reach to deliver supplies due to the threat of improvised explosive devices or lack of roads.
Utilizing air delivery is a lot safer because fewer trucks on the road means reduced odds of hitting an IED. The Marines with Air Delivery know they are doing their part to keep the troops on the ground in the fight.
“I love my job,” said Helt, 28, from Raeford, N.C. “I know I’m doing my part in-country. The way I see it is, without air delivery, they wouldn’t have the supplies they need to get their job done.”