563rd OSS, 79th RQS conduct training at Fort Huachuca

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chris Massey/Released)

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — The 563rd Operations Support Squadron and 79th Rescue Squadron, from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, conducted aerial delivery and recovery training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Dec. 9.

The HC-130J can drop a wide range of equipment to enhance personnel recovery operations.
A rigged 9,720-pound Humvee and a 3,500-pound heavy equipment training load were successfully airdropped from a 79th RQS HC-130J Combat King II onto the Humor Drop Zone.

The training marked the first time that any rescue operations support squadron packaged and rigged a heavy vehicle without external assistance and the first time a heavy vehicle was dropped by the 79th RQS.

“The legacy fixed wing rescue aircraft, the HC-130P, was unable to deliver heavy equipment,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Russell Cook, 563rd OSS commander.  “With the HC-130J, aerial delivery of heavy equipment is now possible and has added the ability to provide pararescue forces with additional mobility options.”

The 563d OSS is now fully capable of rigging heavy vehicles for airdrop. In order to achieve this, the OSS had to conduct facility upgrades, acquire equipment and receive joint training from units across the continental U.S.

“The airdropping of heavy equipment and vehicles is an emergent capability among Air Force Personnel Recovery forces,” cook said.  “Not only does it bring a wide range of new capabilities to combatant commanders, it marks a new area of endeavor for Air Force Rescue. The potential is enormous to increase both the ability to recover isolated personnel and deliver combat power throughout a large theater.”