News: NC Guardsmen conduct aerial resupply mission
Story by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell
FORT PICKETT, Va. - Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard performed an aerial resupply training mission at Fort Pickett, Va., Aug. 8, 2014, to validate their air delivery capabilities for North Carolina.
Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 113th Sustainment Brigade, the 1450th Transportation Company, NCNG Special Forces and an Air Crew with the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 130th Air Wing all participated in the realistic scenario.
“North Carolina is one of only a few states whose National Guard has this unique capability, so it’s very important for us to train jointly with the Special Forces Company, the transportation company and the Air Guard,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Viviana Paredes, an air drop systems technician with HHC, 113th Sustainment Brigade. “That way all the pieces of the puzzle are accustomed to operating together, because when an emergency happens, we are all going to merge together and are indispensible to the state.”
This type of aerial resupply can be used to provide basic necessities to stranded civilians after natural disasters like floods and hurricanes.
Paredes used the example of Hurricane Floyd that hit North Carolina in 1999 to demonstrate the need for this capability in North Carolina. She said there were people stranded by flood waters without clean water or food after the hurricane passed.
“You fix that by having the capability to provide initial support to these people by means of aerial delivery,” Paredes said.
She also said that in addition to food and water, communication devices like emergency radios or basic communication devices could be dropped in to people who are stranded.
Four bundles of meals ready to eat, a military field ration, were air-dropped on to a small air field at Fort Picket with each unit involved acting as they would during a real resupply mission.
HHC 130th Soldiers prepared and rigged the bundles with parachutes, the NCNG Special Forces Soldiers set up and secured the drop-zone, an air crew from the 130th Air Wing provided the C-130 cargo plane that flew the bundles and the 1450th Trans. Co. broke down and distributed the bundles of MRE’s to their unit; just like it would happen if these units were deployed or called to state active duty after a natural disaster.
“This is the first time within the state and the 113th that the bundles were actually rigged and dropped,” Paredes said. “We are looking forward to multiple opportunities to train jointly this way again.”
The Soldiers within Paredes’ company who rigged the bundles are not riggers according to their Military Occupational Specialty but have been trained to perform the task as an additional duty.
She said, “It was complete bliss and satisfaction,” to finally see the hard work of her Soldiers pay off.
“The Soldiers that rigged these bundles have not had the chance to see this happen,” Paredes said. “For me to know that they had the opportunity to see their effort and hard work pay off, and for them to see the bundles intact after coming out of a plane, there is no better satisfaction for anyone who rigs.”