News: Marines conduct mass supply load training, strengthen expeditionary capabilities
Story by Lance Cpl. Anne Henry
PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines -Marines conducted mass supply load training from a KC-130J Hercules aircraft Oct. 2 in Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines as part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
During the training, Marines delivered supplies by parachute from an aircraft, demonstrating expeditionary capabilities that could be used during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
Heavy equipment drops are one of the quickest and easiest ways to supply individuals in a field environment or those in need of humanitarian assistance, according to Staff Sgt. Crystal Salinas, the paralift chief and air delivery specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, which is currently part of the logistics combat element for 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“We have several different air drops that we can utilize using disposable parachutes,” said Salinas. “We can drop food, water and medical supplies. In a humanitarian effort, an air drop would be crucial.”
The air delivery specialists in charge of the drop ensure that everything is perfect positioned on the pallet before the drop to prevent damage to the aircraft or the pallet itself, according to Salinas.
“It is very critical that everything goes right throughout the rigging process,” said Salinas. “Before we even put the load on the aircraft, we have several inspections on it, including a before-load and an after-load inspection. One [mistake] could cause a malfunction, causing the canopy to not inflate, sending the pallet crashing to the ground.”
The air drop also allowed the crew of the KC-130 to perfect their skills in this area, according to Staff Sgt. Nicholas E. Sellman, a KC-130 crewmaster with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which is currently part of the aviation combat element for 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This is good training for us because we don’t get to do it a lot,” said Sellman. “It gives us a chance to rig up all the equipment and also provides us with proficiency in resupplying. I would feel more confident doing this in a real-life scenario now.”
Upon the completion of the drop, the KC-130 landed at a drop zone on Basa Air Base, Pampanga, for the air delivery specialists to retrieve the pallet and parachute to re-use both for future drops.
“This training was very successful,” said Salinas. “I feel comfortable with my Marines’ abilities should they ever need to use them in a future crisis or contingency.”
The recurrence of PHIBLEX, now in its 30th year, demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. and Republic of the Philippines to mutual security and their long-time partnership.