SOUTHWEST ASIA (10/26/2011) -- Some people count stars in the night sky. Some people count planes as they fly overhead. Some people count bundles as they float to the ground.
Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve's 824th Quartermaster Company Det. 10 at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia built 1,498 bundles of supplies in September. The bundles were then airdropped to locations throughout Afghanistan. Photo by Senior Airman Paul Labbe, Oct. 14, 2011
| ||Imagine counting to 1,498. That's the number of bundles the U.S. Army Reserve's 824th Quartermaster Company Det. 10, also known as the Army Riggers, built in September to set a single month, single shop record of 55 airdrop missions from an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia to support deployed forces serving in Afghanistan. |
On average, the detachment rigs 60 bundles per day, translating to about 100,000 pounds worth of supplies which Airmen then fly and deliver from C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
"Here we rig water, fuel and food and drop to the other Soldiers in the theater," said Spc. Evette Williams, a parachute rigger deployed from Fort Bragg, N.C. "We put the parachutes on to the load and load them onto the plane so they can be dropped in various drop zones."
The Riggers receive orders from various forward operating bases in Afghanistan for anything from plywood and drums of diesel gasoline to Meals-Ready to-Eat.
"I feel like we have a direct impact on the war," said Spc. Julian Del Rosario, a parachute rigger and native of Raleigh, N.C., also deployed from Fort Bragg, N.C. "All the stuff goes to the guys on the ground in Afghanistan.
"You can have the best soldier in the war but without water or fuel, they're not going anywhere," he added.
Working in the harsh desert climate can be challenging, according to Williams.
"It's really hard work out here in this heat and humidity but I know what we do means a lot to all the other soldiers out there as far as being in theater and at war. It's important for them to get this stuff, so it's for a good cause," she said. "We come in at eight in the morning and leave when the mission is done."
The Riggers prepared 2.5 million pounds of supplies for airdrop in the month of August, shattering the previous monthly record of 2.2 million pounds.
"As we're rigging, we don't look at the numbers, but when we complete the missions and get the job done, we just look back and say 'wow we broke a record,'" Williams said. "I guess you can say it's motivation for the months ahead."
Although the soldiers bear most of the workload, the seven-day a-week shop also accepts volunteers to share the experience.
"It's interesting to think that all this stuff is going downrange," said Capt. Jeremy Stuursma, 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron pilot and Army Rigger's volunteer, deployed from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. "It feels good, plus, I like to see all the people out here working -- they are having a good time and I think they understand the importance of what they're doing."
The Elizabethtown, Ky., native said he and his other crew members found it rewarding to help troops downrange and be able to learn about something they normally would not experience.
"I think this is definitely important to see because you think that it all happens by itself but it's a team back here putting it together," Stuursma said.
The soldiers assigned to the 824th Quartermaster Company Det. 10 have gone through the rigger school at Fort Lee, Va., and are paratrooper qualified. There are approximately 1,400 riggers Army-wide, including Reserve components.
More associated images in frame below
By Senior Airman Eric Summers Jr.
Provided through DVIDS
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