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    Deployment Readiness Exercise adds new twist to ‘Panther Brigade’ JRTC Rotation

    Giving the 10-Minute Warning

    Photo By Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett | A Jumpmaster assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division gives the...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett 

    82nd Airborne Division

    The ability to rapidly deploy in support of any combat or emergency contingency is the hallmark of the 82nd Airborne Division. For years, the All American Division has deployed Paratroopers from their familiar home tarmac of Pope Army Airfield with little or no notice. Recently, the Division tested their readiness using a departure airfield a little further from home.

    Paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div. executed a deployment readiness exercise (DRE) in conjunction with their Joint Readiness Training Center rotation using Joint Base Charleston, S.C. as their departure airfield January 27 through February 2, 2021.

    The nature of a DRE is to test the Division’s ability to alert its Paratroopers, assemble in their respective areas and deploy a brigade combat team on short notice in support of any mission world-wide. In this instance, the alert went out at 10 p.m. on January 27 with a chain of complex but well-orchestrated events playing out like clockwork in the following hours.

    Paratroopers began reporting to their respective chains of command immediately after receiving the alert. Once assembled in their company areas, leadership briefed their units on the mission at hand: drawing weapons, communication equipment, blank ammunition, food to sustain for three days and execute tactical movement to Joint Base Charleston.

    “This is our mission, be ready to deploy, fight and win anywhere in the world within 18 hours notification,” said Col. Eugene ‘Buddy” Ferris, the 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. commander. “This exercise allows our leadership to validate our outload processes, deliver combat power over long distances, and fight and win upon arrival. This proves we can accomplish that mission no matter where we are asked to deploy from.”

    As the Paratroopers were issued their assigned weapons and readied their communication equipment for movement to Charleston, support personnel were already in South Carolina accomplishing another important enabling part of the mission. Parachute riggers from the 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade alongside members of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div. were busy preparing vehicles and large items of equipment for delivery by parachute or heavy drop. From their makeshift rigger shed, established in a warehouse on the edge of the tarmac, the rigging detail prepared 19 heavy drop platforms and six door bundles over the course of five days.

    “Back home at Fort Bragg we have a nice big facility where we can rig up all these platforms nice and easy and comfortably and we’re used to doing it,” said Warrant Officer 1 Joseph Stewart, a heavy drop rigging facility technician assigned to 151st Quartermaster Company, 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd ADSB. “We needed to come down to Joint Base Charleston to prove that we can do our mission at other locations and make the job happen anywhere the Army needs us to go.”

    Also at Joint Base Charleston were members of the All American Division headquarters and elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps preparing outload nodes in anticipation of 3rd BCTs arrival. This effort included establishing a life support activities, coordinating with Joint Base Charleston leadership to facilitate the influx of vehicles and equipment, and coordination with the South Carolina Department of Transportation in anticipation of increased military vehicle traffic.

    “We’ve always enjoyed a great relationship with our Air Force partners,” said Col. Anthony Keller, the 82nd Abn. Div. operations officer. Our joint teammates at JBC provided us with the highest levels of outload support throughout this exercise.”

    Back at Fort Bragg, elements across the Panther Brigade finalized their movement plans and leaders double-checked their manifests to ensure every Paratrooper was accounted for before beginning the 240-mile tactical movement to Joint Base Charleston. The first battalion to leave Fort Bragg, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div., were transported in more than 150 vehicles.

    “Being able to move all our equipment to an unfamiliar departure airfield was an excellent training opportunity for our Paratroopers,” said First Sgt. Dustin Oliviera, the C Company, 1-508 PIR, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div first sergeant. “The lessons learned from this will enhance our ability to deploy if called upon in the future.”

    As the first elements departed, the rest of 3rd BCT continued their 96-hour outload process, a required capability for all brigade combat teams in the All American Division. One by one, the Panther Brigade elements made their way south.

    The DRE was a true joint operation, with a formation of U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 aircraft from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas and Joint Base Charleston awaiting the arrival of Paratroopers. The aircraft were loaded with pre-rigged items of equipment, supplies, vehicles and artillery pieces throughout jump day as the air crews prepared the aircraft for that night’s mission.

    The Paratroopers had one more scheduled event to perform before moving to the flightline to load aircraft, Sustained Airborne Training. During this training, every Paratrooper executes each stage of the Airborne operation while on the ground and under the watchful eyes of their Jumpmasters. It includes simulating exiting a mock door of an aircraft, properly inspecting the canopy upon exit, ensuring safety throughout descent, how to properly land regardless of terrain and what to do in the event there is an emergency in the aircraft.

    “There is an inherent risk within every Airborne operation, but Sustained Airborne Training gives us as Jumpmasters the opportunity to reinforce safety and build the confidence of our Paratroopers,” Staff Sgt. Lance Alleshire, the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT air operations noncommissioned officer. “Before jumping, we go through every aspect of exiting the aircraft and everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency in the aircraft or under canopy.”

    Just before night fell, the Paratroopers loaded their respective aircraft with everything they needed to sustain themselves after the jump.

    The Jumpmasters on each aircraft began preparing their jumpers for another aspect of airborne operations that many of them had never experienced, an in-flight rig. Typically Paratroopers don their parachutes and equipment while still on the ground then load the aircraft ready to jump. However, on longer flights, they will rig their parachutes and equipment while in flight to minimize fatigue on the jumper.

    “The in-flight rig saved us time in the harness and allowed us to focus on our mission,” said Pfc. Azuriah Rambo, an infantry Paratrooper assigned to D Company, 2-505 PIR, 3rd BCT. “This is something unique to our unit and allows us to counter any threat fast.”

    As the aircraft approached their destination and each jumper finished receiving their Jumpmaster Personnel Inspections, the bright lights inside dimmed to red light. The Jumpmasters took their places near the paratroop doors and began calling their commands: 20-minutes, 10-minutes, get ready, stand up, hook up, check static lines, check equipment and sound off for equipment check. The tension mounted as the Air Force crew open the doors and the cold outside air whips through the bird.

    The Jumpmasters inspect the paratroop doors to ensure their safety and stick their heads outside of the aircraft to ensure there are no hazards below. The next commands are made: one-minute, thirty seconds… stand by. The first jumpers hand over their static lines and turn into the door to await their final command.

    The caution light on the paratroop door turns green and the Jumpmaster taps the jumper in front of them while yelling the command: GO! One by one the Paratroopers leap into the darkness above Geronimo Drop Zone and descend in silence. The deployment readiness portion of the exercise is over and the Joint Readiness Training Center rotation has begun.

    “This was a monumental task and a phenomenal success,” said Ferris. “This achievement is possible because we have the most professional, lethal and capable Paratroopers in the world.”



    Date Taken: 02.03.2021
    Date Posted: 02.03.2021 13:39
    Story ID: 388272
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

    Web Views: 560
    Downloads: 1