Camp Lejeune --
For more than 11 years, Marines have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan against insurgents whose weapon of choice is the improvised explosive device, making ground operations extremely dangerous.
However, Marines have managed to incorporate their air assets into operations to effectively deliver supplies to troops on the front lines without risking personnel and vehicles.
Service members with Air Delivery Platoon, 2nd Marine Logistics Group continued to refine their delivery skills by dropping eight Container Delivery System bundles during a two-day training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 16-17.
A CDS bundle consists of a wood pallet set at the bottom, an energy dissipating material – such as thick corrugated cardboard - in between and the cargo on the top. It is all wrapped together and equipped with a high velocity parachute.
“With this system we can pretty much deliver almost any type of supply anywhere we need,” said Cpl. Edwin B. Lathrop, an airborne and air delivery specialist with 2nd MLG.
During the exercise, the air delivery specialists teamed up with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in order to conduct the training.
“This is common training,” explained 2nd Lt. Sarah E. Simmler, the Air Delivery platoon commander. “This is part of these Marines’ military occupation. Not only do they inspect and pack parachutes, but they also have to be able to put the CDS [bundles] together.
“We are also supporting the pilots, who have to maintain their proficiency requirements,” Simmler added.
Each CDS bundle weighed nearly 520 pounds and they were dropped from an altitude of 500 feet. The pilots had to maneuver the aircraft in order to land each bundle in the target area, which measured only 25-yards in diameter.
“This is a capability directly related to combat,” Lathrop concluded. “We are able to deliver supplies faster and more effectively to any location, but we need to practice here to make sure we can do it right.”