USMC make it rain during Kodiak Mace
U.S. Marines of the 3d Transportation Support Battalion, Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152 participated in exercise Kodiak Mace at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 12 to 25, 2018.
Exercise participants prepared and performed various air drops to include Container Delivery System, Type V Heavy Equipment Platforms, Joint Precision Airdrop System, Combination drops, and Personnel drops, said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Bird, 3d Transportation Support Battalion air delivery platoon operations chief.
While various types of chutes were deployed from the back of the KC-130J Hercules, the most significant were the Helicopter Expeditionary Refueling System and JPADS.
“JPADS use GPS guided parachutes to reach the desired destination,” Bird said. “In Okinawa we don’t get very many opportunities to drop JPADS. This is a fairly new system and we hope refine our skills with it.”
The vast and diverse landscape of Alaska is ideal for the various types of drops performed during Kodiak Mace.
HERS drops provide fuel and the necessary equipment to set up a helicopter refuel point, ideal for a remote location.
“It gives us a greater reach for fuel resupply when there’s no other means of getting fuel on site,” said Gunnery Sgt. Octavio Ortiz, Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 fuels staff NCOIC. “Depending on the terrain, this type of fuel supply could be the safest delivery method available.”
Soon after the HERS left the aircraft, bulk fuel specialists met the pallet on the ground and extracted the simulated fuel within.
By weeks end, six JPADS were dropped from high above Malemute Drop Zone, and multiple HERS drops were performed, with each fuel drum delivering more than 430 gallons of fuel.
“Last year we dropped one JPAD,” Bird said. “This year we’re dropping six. In the Marine Corps we have training and readiness standards. The training we do out here helps us meet those standards.”