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    Reserve Riggers deliver Frontline Supply Reserves

    Reserve Riggers deliver Frontline Supply Reserves

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Shannon R. Gregory | Sgt. 1st Class Hayes, Spc. Alexandra Skelton and Spc. Ray Vargas, all assigned to the...... read more read more

    SOUTHWEST ASIA - The military has several ways to get supplies to its troops. Depending on the amount, type and location, these three major factors determine how the supplies are delivered. The most popular and cheapest mode of transportation is by truck. We see them on the road all the time. However, what if there are no roads or the roads are too difficult for regular semi trucks to navigate? Two words: ‘air drop.’

    The Army Reserve soldiers of the 824th Quartermaster, Detachment 10 Airborne Riggers, are there to supply all the war fighters in hard to reach areas. These service members from the Nashville, Tenn. and Fayetteville, N.C. areas ensure much needed supplies get to those soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen stationed in the roughest terrain throughout Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Every day they brave the heat to complete the mission for the day. Whether it is water and rations or fuel and frozen foods, the riggers are responsible for building palette loads and preparing them for airdrop delivery. Anything the warfighter needs, these Soldiers get it ready to deliver.

    Even with 130 degree temperatures outside - these soldiers don’t stop. They keep on working through the heat knowing they have soldiers lives in their hands with every mission they do.

    Their work day starts at 8 a.m., having already conducted physical training and eaten breakfast. The crews work until the work is done for the day. If they have to rig 80 bundles, they stay until all 80 bundles are complete.

    “We can’t just say it’s five, we’re checking out,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 David Pettus, assigned to the 824th Quartermaster, Detachment 10, Parachute Riggers, as the commander and senior airdrop systems technician from Nashville, Tenn. “If we check out at five, it’s to go and eat supper and we come back and work until whenever we get done.”

    An average month is 1,200 Container Delivery Systems CDS bundles or almost 2 million pounds of food and supplies. They are projected to break the record for that shop with 1,562 bundles this month. This past April, they broke the record in theater for poundage dropped - 2.2 million pounds with just 24 riggers. The average size for a Rigger Detachment is 76 people.

    “To me,” said Pettus, “the amazing part, besides dropping that, is that we also had to order and handle all that [supplies] then rig it and get it to the airfield to be air-dropped. It’s a major undertaking to do that much poundage and supplies by the 24 people here on hand.”

    They make all the CDS bundles in their shop. All the supplies needed to make the bundles they have to order. From the pallet up, all materials are created and purchased on site, with the exception of the parachute. The CDS bundles are pre-built and pre-staged. They have two lanes and on typical days, both lanes are performing the same function, getting the CDS bundles built and out the door. On fuel days, they build the CDS bundle in one lane, take it outside to put fuel in the barrel then bring it back inside to finish up by placing the parachute on it.

    After the CDS bundles are assembled, they are loaded onto a truck, taken to the airfield and loaded on a plane. Once on the plane, they have to be secured, hooked up to the static parachute line and inspected.

    After tying the oscillation ties onto the CDS bundles, hooking up clevises from the bundles to the anchor line on the aircraft, they inspect the load to make sure everything is correctly secured and attached.

    “You can only have so much of a load on an aircraft. You can’t just throw anything on there,” said Sgt. Cleveland Spain, a joint aircraft inspector assigned to the 824th, and from Fayetteville, N.C. Joint aircraft inspectors have to supply the crew of the plane with a data (load) plan. The data plan shows the weight of the CDS bundles and their location on the aircraft.

    Everyone assigned to the 824th has gone through the Rigger school at Fort Lee, Va., and is paratrooper qualified. It is a very specialized field and there are only about 1,400 riggers Army-wide counting reserve components.

    While reflecting on his job, Spain said, “whenever we pack a parachute and someone jumps out of an [airplane] and it’s our parachute that they jumped with, it’s that satisfaction knowing that you can do your job well. And when they walk away on the ground, you know you did your job. It’s awesome; it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”



    Date Taken: 07.11.2011
    Date Posted: 08.06.2011 09:30
    Story ID: 74954

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