Military News

Friday, May 22, 2015

3rd ASOS conducts joint ‘jump week’ with 1 Geronimo troops

by Airman Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs


5/22/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Two doors on the aircraft flew open with a bang and the wind pulled and tugged, trying to grab whatever or whoever it could.

The jumpmaster yelled "Go! Go! Go!" as the Airmen and paratroopers fell like a hail of arrows.

Kodiak Solstice jump week is hosted by the Air Force 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron and combines the Army's 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division  to work together in a joint-training environment.

"This symbolizes the effort to our Soldiers, Airmen and mission to practice executing safe and tactical airborne operations," said Air Force Lt. Colonel Ty Bridge, 3rd ASOS commander.

The unit provides air support for both Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

"My role as one of the primary jumpmasters for this event is to take responsibility for coordinating jumpmaster inspections, parachute harnesses and putting jumpers on the aircraft to the drop zone," said Air Force Master Sgt. Steward Ferguson, jumpmaster with the 3rd ASOS.

Jumpmasters were provided by both branches to help standardize and acquaint each other with their respective jumping procedures and safety.
Army jumpmasters integrated with Airmen and Air Force jumpmasters mixed with Soldiers.

"We have to maintain the joint relations because it's integral to our job," said Capt. Nathan Maxton, 3rd ASOS Operations Flight commander.

A joint effort is paramount because in a deployed environment, Airmen and paratroopers will work together, acquainted or not.

The first day of the Kodiak Solstice jump week was the Basic Airborne Refresher course; the instructors took the participants through procedures with different parachutes and environments.

A few of the participants were fresh out of the Basic Airborne Course.

"The first thing we are doing is familiarizing them with the equipment and how to put it on," Ferguson said. "We'll go through the action in the aircraft and practice some parachute landing falls."

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dustin Stelljes, jumpmaster with 3rd ASOS, demonstrated putting an H-harness on a single-point release assembly.

The harness forms the shape of an 'H' to distribute weight equally. The single-point release allows a jumper to drop the rucksack, but keep it connected to break the fall before impact.

"The H-harness is used to secure your equipment to yourself during an airborne operation," Stelljes said. "These guys are learning how to rig it and know how to do it properly."

Before earning their role as tactical air control party members by jumping five times and going through the proper training, the trainees wear white helmets for their first jumps and are unofficially termed ROMAD: radio operator maintainer and
driver.

"The white helmets are [for] the brand new graduates from the first airborne course; they get special attention, because they don't have the experience to know what's going wrong or identify the issue," said Tech. Sgt. Logan English, jumpmaster with the 3rd ASOS. "The entire training event is a proficiency exercise to educate our guys on airborne operations."

Kodiak Solstice trains new and old jumpers on the safety procedures and techniques used with different parachutes such as the MC-6, T-10 and T-11.

Personnel also trained for landing on environments ranging from water to trees, and of course the ground, but more importantly, to ensure joint camaraderie for future deployments.

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