NEWS | April 16, 2019

Sustainers Resupply Units using Aerial Delivery during Lightning Strike

By Sgt. Sarah Williams

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Trucks aren't the only way Sustainers deliver supplies! Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gregory Benson, Airdrop Systems Technician assigned to 25th Division Sustainment Brigade, partnered with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 3rd Brigade Combat Team to conduct Aerial Delivery (AD) resupply missions. They accomplished this task by using the Free Drop (FD) technique in support of four companies of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team during Operation Lightning Strike field exercise.

Each drop supplied 2-27INF Soldiers with 390lbs of meals and ammunition; approximately one day worth from four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to two locations simultaneously.

“We must exercise all the assets at our disposal to accomplish missions with speed and lethality,” said Benson.

There are three methods of AD. They are Low Velocity, High Velocity, and Free Drop. Combatant commanders have all three at their disposal, but FD with the Low Cost Aerial Delivery System (LCADS) is a method that allows the unit to conduct aerial resupply missions under Parachute Rigger supervision.

“We are the Tip of the Spear in the Pacific Theater,” said Benson. “We have the assets; land/drop zones, air (rotary and Air Force), and we have the need from the units on the ground for the supplies.”

Free Drop techniques can provide 200lbs per load and 600lbs per UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. That equates to three days worth of meals and assorted small arms ammunition for a company sized element.

“We must practice airdrop methods, processes, and procedures in Garrison in order to execute it quickly and without fault or fail in combat,” said Benson.