News: Wranglers recover, dismantle downed aircraft
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – In a joint-service effort, soldiers with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and airmen with the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, worked together to recover and dismantle an out-of-commission aircraft on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, July 15.
The aircraft, a C-21 transportation jet for the Air Force, suffered damage beyond repair after making a hard landing in 2009. Nobody was injured in this incident.
After receiving a request from the 407th AEG to assist with removal and demilitarizing the airplane from the airfield, the brigade formed a downed aircraft recovery team and treated the task as a training mission.
“After we received the request from the Air Force, we decided to use it as training,” said Army Maj. Michael McBride, deputy operations officer for the 4th Sustainment Brigade, and Dequincy, La., native. “It’s a standard recovery, but we’re treating it as an actual mission.”
The aircraft was recovered and transported off the airfield July 5 and was taken to another site on Contingency Operating Base Adder where it was dismantled July 15.
The training was a rare opportunity for the soldiers to practice their craft on an actual aircraft that they might be called upon to recover in the case of any future incidents.
“This was a great joint training opportunity for everyone involved,” said Air Force Capt. Jeffery Davis, chief safety officer for 407th AEG, and a Colorado Springs, Colo., native. “It was a great opportunity for the soldiers and airmen to practice and gain familiarity with conducting recovery operations with an actual aircraft. It helps so that they’ll be prepared should they be called upon to recover an aircraft outside the wire.”
Although the soldiers are deployed in support of Operation New Dawn, the training for future scenarios never stops.
“It’s always important to continue to refine, train and get better at our professional skills,” said Army Capt. Jerry Cole, transportation officer with 749th CSSB, and a Los Angeles, Calif., native. “The soldiers need to know what they’re doing and be comfortable doing so, in case they need to react in a hostile environment.”
He said the chance to train on the aircraft and work alongside the Air Force during this mission was a beneficial opportunity.
“It was great to get some valuable training and allow the aircraft to provide one more training opportunity before we put it in its final resting place,” Cole said.