NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. â€” Jumping out of the back of a C-130 Hercules, thousands of feet above the ground, is only a small part of the mission of the 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight. Air drops are just another means to arrive at their destination to apply their light construction capabilities.
Tech. Sgt. Mitch Romag, 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight jump master, values the training his flight is able to receive.
â€œOur guys benefit from this training by staying proficient in their job operations. The more you jump, the more comfortable you are and the better you get at it,â€ Romag said. â€œThe less you jump, the more potential for injury is present.â€
Air drop and air insert skill sets are easily lost if training isnâ€™t emphasized. Repetition allows airborne RED HORSE Airmen to become a highly capable force.
â€œAnytime you do an air drop operation, you have to conduct what is called a pre-jump training,â€ Romag said. â€œThat involves the air brief and practicing the actual jump. We have a mock up door of a C-130 Hercules outside where we can train and focus on certain details.â€
The mission doesnâ€™t end after the paratroopers exit the aircraft. The bulk of the operational requirements occur after landing successfully on the ground.
â€œThe flight is designed to be a bridge between the seizure force and the follow-on forces,â€ Romag said. â€œWe get to a runway where we apply light construction to involve airfield damage repair and set up of the landing zone.â€
Once paratroopers reach the ground, Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Alessi, 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight pavements and construction equipment operator, is the lead RED HORSE Airman on the ground during runway crater operations.
â€œThe reason we drop in is weâ€™re going into an area where aircraft is unable to land,â€ Alessi said. â€œWe go in with the ability to repair the runway or to create a brand new landing zone so the follow-on forces of RED HORSE can arrive on location.â€
Crater repair is one of the light constructions the RED HORSE airborne flight specializes in. Alessi is in charge of overseeing the task to completion.
â€œWith crater repairs, weâ€™re pretty much looking to make sure everything is being compacted so when the C-130â€™s land on the strip the aircraft will take no damage,â€ Alessi said.
Airmen train on a simulated bombed-out runway to ensure mission readiness and preparedness for their missions.
â€œIf the aircraft comes in hot and lands at the wrong angle and you have not compacted an area to what it needs to be, youâ€™re going to cause damage to either the aircraft, or someone is going to lose their life,â€ Alessi said.
Training to fight and maintaining expertise in their mission are tasks the Airmen of the 820th RED HORSE airborne flight take very seriously. With a team of 40 airborne qualified members, the flight is a professional and proficient force.
From the air to the ground, the 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight has the ability to operate anywhere around the world at any time.
â€œIf you need light construction anywhere in the world, you can call us and we can get it there,â€ Romag said.