By Dylan Gentile.
919th Special Operations Wing aviators glide into remote locations around the globe, landing on rural air strips and dropping much-needed supplies to allies and civilians over enemy territory. The aerial delivery training for these missions happens in the skies over the Eglin range, where 919th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron air transportation specialists are ready to load and pick up cargo.
“A loadmaster could call us at any time and request whatever the mission requires,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Levesque, a 919 SOLRS air transportation specialist. “It can be as small as a hand-toss bag or as large as a Humvee if the mission supports it.”
Airmen training in the aerial delivery mission learn to drop a variety of cargo on target from an aircraft. Aerial transportation specialists pack, rig parachutes to cargo, and sometimes build cargo crates. They’re also responsible for transporting cargo to the flightline.
“Every step of the process gets multiple inspections,” said Levesque. “One person packs the parachute and loads the crate and then another person comes in and does the final inspections.”
The many inspections are necessary to ensure the safety of Airmen and equipment. Depending on the mission variant, the stakes could be high if something were to go wrong.
After cargo is transported to the aircraft, the air transportation specialists head to the drop location to pick up the cargo. 919 SOLRS air transportation specialists also provide for total force partners such as the 492nd Special Operations Wing and 7th Special Forces Group. They also support our partner nations in the aerial delivery mission.
“With us, cargo can be delivered anywhere in the world,” said Staff. Sgt. Makenzie Carlson, a 919 SOLRS air transportation specialist. “Without air transportation specialists, no supplies would get anywhere.”
The make-it-happen attitude of the 919 SOW air transportation team could be seen as a reflection of the 919 SOLRS motto: “Find a way or make one.”
“In this job, if there’s a roadblock, we’ll find a way to complete the mission,” said Carlson. “Safely, of course.”
Story by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile, 919th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs, originally published February 22, 2021 by DVIDS, entitled “SOLRS Airmen support the aerial delivery mission.” The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service publishes stories that are in the public domain.
The 919th special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron is a subordinate unit of the 91th Special Operations Wing. One of the unit’s missions is to conduct aerial delivery missions. This sometimes involves the packing, rigging, transporting, and collecting of cargo for flights in a deployed environment to austere locations and over enemy territory. The squadron also provides support for various AFSOC training events and exercises such as the annual Emerald Warrior.
The 919th SOW is located at Eglin Air Force Base, Field 3 (Duke Field) in Florida. It is the only special operations wing in the Air Force Reserve. In mobilized during wartime or in a contingency the wing will report to Air Force Special Operations command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The 919th SOW mission provides operations and maintenance personnel to support the non-standard aviation, foreign internal defense, and combat aviation advisor programs for AFSOC through the use of the C-145A, C-146A, and other air platforms.
“919th Special Operations Wing Fact Sheet”, 919th SOW, February 7, 2017.