FORT POLK, LA. | Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division are rigging heavy equipment for the first time on the flight line just outside the Intermediate Staging Base (ISB). Parachute riggers are actively engaged instructing Paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Falcon Brigade) how to secure their heavy equipment before loading them on to an aircraft for an upcoming tactical heavy drop airborne operation.
One of the challenges the parachute riggers faced was where to store their chutes so they wouldn’t get wet. Paratroopers from 151st Quartermaster Company (Aerial Delivery) arrived to the ISB to support Falcon Brigade but did not have enough space to conduct a heavy drop rig site, until a nearby airfield flight line welcomed the paratroopers to complete their mission.
Traditionally, parachute riggers would conduct a notional or simulated rig on heavy equipment and place them strategically on the drop zones before the paratroopers jump and land next to the equipment simulating a heavy drop airborne operation.
“This time we are actually dropping the heavy equipment out of the aircraft, then putting the jumpers out the door,” said Agnew, “We have three 32-foot platforms that will hold the gun truck combos; two up-armored radar vehicles; an up-armored tactical vehicle; two regular army Humvees; a Brigade Tactical vehicle and a trailer.”
Once the rigged heavy equipment is loaded on to the aircraft, Agnew will joint inspect the cargo while in flight before getting the final approval from the Air Force before the release of the equipment. More parachute riggers from the aerial delivery team on the ground will be observing the cargo leaving the aircraft and safely landing on the drop zone.
“A parachute rigger’s job is very important because anytime we deploy to an unknown environment you have to get that first echelon out there to secure an area,” said Agnew. “They will need equipment like vehicles and guns to secure the airfield before we can start dropping paratroopers from the sky to support the Division.”
The tactical heavy drop airborne operation was scheduled for Saturday, April 7.