umvee," 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
"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.
PFC Ariel Solomon
A South Dakota air
crewman, foreground, and 197th riggers, background,
prepare to load the second of three loads aboard the
"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
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
PFC Ariel Solomon
Looking over the
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
"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