Geographically Separated Units Airdrop Supplies to Advisory Troops

Flying over the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, two C-130J Hercules aircraft airdropped more than 30 container delivery system bundles to troops serving in a Resolute Support Mission expeditionary advisory package, May 4.

Unlike previous combat airdrop missions, this dual-formation airdrop was executed by two geographically separated units: the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, an active-duty squadron located at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, an Air Force Reserve squadron located at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

“The uniqueness about this mission is that it’s two separate units, stationed in two separate countries, coming together for a single airdrop, which to my knowledge has never been done before in combat in this country,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Bret Echard, commander of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

Complicated Planning

Echard pointed out that mission planning for a combat dual-formation airdrop, in hostile territory, isn’t easy when a unit is together, let alone when the second aircraft comes from a geographically separated unit.

“For any large or small operation, especially in a mountainous terrain environment like Afghanistan, communication is key and must start at the basic level of planning,” Echard said. “It has to start early and it has to…

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