39th Airlift Squadron hits west coast skies, drops 200 Marines

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class River Bruce
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, trained in airspace over Nevada and California, August 8–16.

This training was designed to prepare 39th Airlift Squadron aircrew for future deployed operations in mountainous terrains.

Pilots experience higher atmospheric pressure at high altitudes which change the way landings feel, said Capt. Matthew Rounds, 39th AS C-130J Super Hercules pilot. Newer pilots were able to train on operating in these conditions for the first time.

“We operated out of Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which has similar elevations to areas we operate overseas,” Rounds said .

Aircrews worked on various airlift procedures such as the combat offload.

The combat offload is a method used by C-130 aircrew to deliver cargo in hazardous environments. It involves a fast landing and is followed by an abrupt takeoff that allows for cargo to roll out of the back of the aircraft to support missions on the ground.

“One of the biggest wins of this training was building rapport within the units involved in our deployments,” Rounds said. “Our loadmasters were in sync with pilots and our maintainers kept our aircraft good to go. Deployers were able to work side-by-side with the same people they’ll work with overseas.”

The 39th AS also built relationships with Marines assigned to Camp Pendleton, California.

“We had the pleasure of working with over 200 Marines, for high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) and static-line parachute drops,” Rounds said.

The HALO drops consisted of  five to 10 Marines jumping out of the rear of the C-130J at altitudes higher than 3,500 feet. Static-line drops were conducted at 1,250 feet. For each static-line pass, approximately 20 Marines jumped one-by-one with parachutes deploying immediately upon their departure.

Marines were able to make multiple jumps during the week and became up-to-date on their requirements for deployment readiness, said Staff Sgt. Carlos Camacho, 1st Transportation Support Battalion jump master.