Airmen take Red Flag plunge

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Andrew Dumboski
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Parachutists from around the Air Force took a plunge Sept. 1 into local Lake Mead drop zone in support of Red Flag 06-2.

U.S. Air Force C-130 and Singapore Air Force Ch-47 Chinook crews provided Red Flag airlift operations in support of the jumps.

Nellis Airmen also supported the mission by providing parachutists from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, Red Flag Combat Search and Rescue and Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape specialist augmenters, as well as various units world wide requiring jump currencies.

"The jump was a blast," commented Master Sgt. Michael Elliot, SERE program manager at Hickam AFB. "Everything went off without a hitch."

Following the initial jumps from a C-130, the Chinook performed a helocast with similar success. Singapore CH-47 pilots in upgrade training are attached to a Grand Prairie, Texas Air National Guard unit. This international unit participates in Red Flag to gain training and proficiency in areas that they seldom see in their home unit.

To perform a helocast, the helicopter hovers at about ten feet over the water with about a 10-knot forward airspeed and deploys swimmers directly into the water.

"It's just another way to deploy units into action," said Sergeant Elliot. "They'll hover just over the water and the swimmers will jump directly off the back ramp."

After landing in the water, the jumpers were picked up by a Zodiac inflatable raft and brought to shore.

"The jump went well," said Tech. Sgt. Jon Reed, 414th Combat Training Squadron CSAR Operations NCO in charge. "The winds were higher than originally expected, but we were within limits. It was a good learning outcome for everyone involved."

For the jumpers, the exercise provided proficiency training, which means none of them were new to water jumps. They have to periodically have to parachute to remain proficient and current.

"The jump was really for the Red Flag airlift participants more than the jumpers," said Sergeant Reed. When a unit signs on for a Red Flag, they bring with them a list of training requirements. This was one of the requests on the C-130's and CH-47's contract.

The aircrews and maintainers fulfilled these requirements and everyone involved really benefited from the training and lessons learned during the Red Flag exercise, officials said.