Air National Guard Members Certify Drop Zone

  • Published
  • By Airman Justin Andras
  • 110th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
While the future mission of the 110th Airlift Wing hasn't been completely established, there is still hope to bring C-130s to Battle Creek.

January 25, 2013, personnel from the 172nd Air Support Squadron here participated in a training exercise at the Grayling Air Gunnery Range, Frederic, Mich. They were assisted by range personnel to complete the exercise.

"We're testing the recovery and the drop capabilities of the drop zone", said Tech. Sgt. Patrick Hann, Drop Zone Control Officer and loadmaster with the 172nd Air Support Squadron.

This exercise will consist of two C-130 aircraft each making a pass on the drop zone, said Hann. The first aircraft drops a 2,500-pound heavy equipment platform, a typical payload of a C-130 aircraft.

Following the first drop, the second C-130 drops a Container Delivery System bundle, a much smaller payload, typically used by a C-27J aircraft, said Hann.

The range hasn't been certified as a drop zone since about 2005, said Lt. Col. Timothy Brock, the Operations Group Commander for the Alpena Combat Readiness Center, Michigan Air National Guard. Brock serves as Grayling's range commander.

This certification is an endeavor in the fight for the 110th Airlift Wing to acquire a C-130 mission.

Units can come here to fly low-level drops to the range, where we will pick up the bundles and transport them over to another location, projecting our experienced versatility, said Brock.

Another purpose of the training exercise is to show the 110th Airlift Wing's willingness and success at working with other units to further a common goal.

"This shows that we're preparing for whatever is going to be thrown at us", said Hann.

In addition, we work better with our range personnel who aren't used to dropping equipment, said Hann. Essentially, this exercise trains them to be diversified in their skill sets.
The range personnel are a vital component in operating C-130s from Battle Creek, since Camp Grayling would be used as the official drop zone, said Hann.

There's only one qualified person in the state of Michigan to drop equipment on the drop zone, so we need to get more people trained, said Hann.

Following the exercise, the equipment was transported to Alpena Air National Guard Base, Mich., demonstrating collaboration efforts between two Air National Guard units.

In its entirety, the exercise shows joint efforts between Battle Creek, Grayling and Alpena's military units.

While it's taken a lot of planning, it wasn't hard to put together, said Hann.

"We don't know if we're getting the C-130s, it's still up in the air," said Hann. "But we're still going to press forward."