Picking up the Pieces

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren and Senior Airman Jessica Lewellen
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Four Airmen from the 133rd Logistic Readiness Squadron, Small Air Terminal Section, were assigned to recover training pallets released from the Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 Hercules in Yuma, Ariz., Feb., 25, 2014.

The Small Air Terminal Section was one of a handful of units assigned along with the 133rd Airlift Wing who made use of the warmer temperatures to accomplish six- months of airdrops and other annual training requirements all in a six-day time period.

For the Aerial Recovery Team, their morning began with picking up the tools and straps needed to secure the training pallets. For the other Airmen, their morning started by inspecting the day's loads and making sure everything was set for the airdrops.

"We are here to support the aircrew by re-rigging on the spot and redeploying the training pallets so that the aircrew can maximum their training time," said Senior Airmen Trevor Norman, 133rd Logistic Readiness Squadron, Small Air Terminal Section.

The Aerial Recovery Team drove two hours out to Yuma Proving Grounds to the drop zone. Here they recovered the containerized delivery system load or low-cost, low-altitude training pallets. When not conducting aerial recovery duties, the Small Air Terminal members were responsible for processing personnel and cargo, packing parachutes and loading equipment onto the aircraft.

Once the drop was recovered, the Airmen had to load the pallets onto a flatbed truck to bring it back to home base.

The Yuma training mission provided this team with a wide range of unique challenges, specifically the unfamiliar terrain. The terrain at Yuma Proving Grounds provides desert conditions, which are uneven and rocky. Whether at the drop zone or back at base camp, the training trip provided great hands-on training for the younger Airmen.

As the sun was setting behind the mountains, the Aerial Recovery Team was still at work inspecting and repacking the parachutes and loads for the next day's flights. Their work is often done behind the scenes, but is essential for training missions like Yuma.

When asked about how the day went, Senior Master Sgt. Steve Tuttle, superintendent of the 133rd Logistic Readiness Squadron, Small Air Terminal Section, responded with, "It was a very successful day. Busy. I have not sat down once, but we will keep going until it is all done."