197th Special Troops Company

 Conducts First Unit Cargo Drop

 

By SPC Lyndsey Dransfield

and PFC Ariel Solomon

 

Published June 5, 2010

 

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A cargo bundle sits loaded on a C-23 Sherpa aircraft ready to be A cargo bundle sits loaded on a C-23 Sherpa aircraft ready to be A cargo bundle sits loaded on a C-23 Sherpa aircraft ready to be dropped by the Utah Guard's 197th Special Troops Company April 11.

Photo by PFC Ariel Solomon

A cargo bundle sits loaded on a C-23 Sherpa aircraft ready to be

dropped by the Utah Guard's 197th Special Troops Company April 11.

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah – Utah Army National Guard Soldiers with the 197th Special Troops Company (Airborne) performed their first cargo-drop training over Camp Williams April 11.

"[A cargo load] can be anything from food to ammo to a Humvee," explained Pfc. Charles Parr, parachute rigger with the 197th.

This drop consisted of 300 pounds of military rations and water wrapped in a canvas bundle and topped with a parachute.

The first bundle out of the aircraft was packed by Pfc. Britney Kinyon, parachute rigger with the 197th, one of the newest members of the team.

"She has the latest training to make her a valuable member of the USASOC (United States Army Special Operations Command) community," said Maj. Joaquin Mixco, commander of the 197th. "She has received training on the Joint Precision Airdrop System, which is a remote-control device to guide high-altitude, air-dropped bundles. She can rig and deliver the most advanced equipment to some of the most restrictive areas."

The 197th Special Troops Company, established in 2008, is rapid-deployable unit that provides multifunctional combat service support to USASOC units deployed throughout the world.

The unit consists of airborne-qualified Soldiers trained in over 50 different occupations to include logistical, medical, dental, engineering, mortuary, laundry, food-service, maintenance and administrative specialties.

A South Dakota air crewman, foreground, and 197th riggers, background, prepare to load the second of three loads aboard the C-23 aircraft.

Photo by PFC Ariel Solomon

A South Dakota air crewman, foreground, and 197th riggers, background, prepare to load the second of three loads aboard the C-23 aircraft.

"This allows us to support a variety of missions and units depending on the need at the time," explained Warrant Officer Michael Dunn, the unit’s airdrop systems technician.

The 197th is the only unit capable of heavy-drop operations for USASOC, but due to a shortage of indispensable equipment, the Rigger Section of the 197th is currently unable to successfully perform its heavy-drop support missions at this time, Mixco added.

The South Dakota National Guard’s 641st Aviation Regiment helped make this cargo-drop training possible by providing a C-23 Sherpa, as well as trained crew engineer instructors.

"This is our third time in Utah [assisting with airborne missions]," said Sgt. Mathew Dan, a member of the South Dakota air crew that helped with the airdrop.

Looking over the jumpmaster's shoulder, photographer PFC Solomon captures the cargo floating gently to the ground near Camp Williams.

Photo by PFC Ariel Solomon

Looking over the jumpmaster's shoulder, photographer PFC Solomon captures the cargo floating gently to the ground near Camp Williams.

"We want to use every platform in the inventory, so it’s not unusual to see planes from all over the country supporting us," said Mixco. "It’s more realistic to have these fixed-wing aircraft."

Mixco said he and the Soldiers of the 197th look forward to being able to train on even more complicated drops, heavy loads and joint precision aerial deliveries, as they hope to acquire the equipment necessary for such missions.

Since the unit was founded, it has deployed several individual augmentees to support Special Forces and Joint Special Operations units in the Global War on Terrorism.

"That’s what support we've been asked to provide so far, but we’re moving away from that method in favor of deploying as a unit," added Dunn. "The bottom line is we want to provide who and what the community needs."