Seeing fruits of airdrop labor a great thing

  • Published
  • By Capt. Scott Byrum
  • 10th Airlift Squadron
We've all had those moments. Where we stand on the precipice ... certain that the actions and words we take and choose over the next few moments will inevitably change the outcome of our lives, and perhaps the lives of hundreds. That time, usually a countdown from 30 to 10 seconds, where you have measured with a micrometer and now stand poised to cut with an axe. That's when you hear Capt. Thomas "TP" Parker, 10th Airlift Squadron, cry, "JUST SLING IT!" Then you think to yourself ... a battalion of Marines will have enough to drink, eat, and shoot tomorrow ... and, man, do I love my job. 

Airdrop aircrews from the 10th Airlift Squadron operating from here have been happily plugging away -- putting up record numbers in a daily attempt to resupply the troops at forward operating bases throughout Afghanistan. The days aren't quite as long as the grueling trip from Turkey to Afghanistan and back, but with the extended ground times, endless orbits and alert sequences, it starts to add up. However, you won't find many complaints from anyone in the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron OL-B, the squadron's airdrop component stationed here. No complaints, that is, until it's time to move to a different deployed location. The unity of purpose this unique mobility mission engenders has created an incredibly tight-knit unit, and I don't think any one of us would trade this opportunity for anything. 

The reason... the beauty... is that we immediately see the fruits of our labor. We hear repeatedly that we are supplementing provisions for troops down to their last canteens and magazines. We have the luxury of hearing the voices of the controllers over FM radios and hear the relief as they see their next meal fall on the drop zone. We are humbled seeing troops on their way back to their respective bases, sitting at bus stops on their layover, thanking us for the support they received downrange. 

But that's when that troop turns to you on the bench and says they never received an airdrop. That's when they mention they got every morale package their parents sent them from a C-17 flying an airland mission. No, not every soldier or marine is out in unreachable regions of the Afghan desert. Most sit in tents and huts in places we are all familiar with ... Bagram, Kandahar and others. To these troops the C-17 and its crews still mean necessity, provisions, a bit of comfort and a bit of home. I write all this to say that those of us down here are lucky to see the immediate effects of our effort. We love what we are doing and feel privileged to put into combat the rewards of our extremely 
challenging currency requirements. 

We just wanted you to know that we also have the luxury of seeing the impact Team McChord is having on the entire AOR. Well done, team, well done.