JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Air Force and Army units teamed up in support a training objective, during which more than 600 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers performed a static jump from seven C-17s over Pope Army Air Field Range, North Carolina, June 4.
The seven aircraft included three C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Joint Base-Lewis McChord and four from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
Capt. Anne Marie Kemp, 7th Airlift Squadron C-17 pilot, was one of the seven aircraft commanders working to safely drop the hundreds of Soldiers over the drop zone.
“It’s preparation for the [Swift Response 2016],” said Kemp. “We’re practicing a large formation, which is something we don’t always get to do, while also enabling the Army jumpers the opportunity to train as well.”
Training opportunities such as this were not always feasible in the past due to real world missions, planning constraints and coordination, said Kemp.
The training is vital for the aircrew and the Army, because this training is similar to how they would respond in a real world situation, she said.
In addition to the pilots and Soldiers, the loadmasters on the aircraft gain an equal amount of training with every air drop they complete. The ‘loads’ as they are commonly referred to, are responsible for loading, securing, escorting cargo and passengers, as well as calculating weight distribution.
For Staff Sgt. Seth Lewis, 7th Airlift Squadron C-17 loadmaster, this was his first C-17 personnel air drop, but his 11th total personnel air drop as he was a previous C-130 loadmaster.
“It definitely feels good to be able to complete these missions,” said Lewis. “One second you have a plane full of people and 30 seconds later it’s empty, picture that.”
Seeing a formation of people and equipment being dropped off is what his job is all about, he said.
“I enjoy the view from where I sit and the satisfaction I get from a job well done,” said Lewis.
After the seven aircraft teamed up and conducted the personnel air drop, the Soldiers completed tactical training once on the ground. The aircraft then made their way to Europe to participate in a large scale exercise, called Swift Response 2016.