YUMA, Ariz. --
Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, assisted 1st Marine Logistics Group with a heavy equipment, bridge delivery drop over Yuma, Ariz., June 5.
“This is the first time we, as a Marine Corps, have attempted an aerial delivery of a bridge, said Capt. Brian Griffeth, the 1st MLG air operations officer. “The last time the United States military attempted a bridge drop like the one we are about to conduct was during the Korean War. This is a huge advancement for us as a Marine Corps.”
These drops allow the aviation combat element and the logistics combat element the ability to work together, demonstrating the whole concept of a Marine Air Ground Task Force.
“This capability will allow us to work together as a MAGTF to accomplish the overall mission of supporting the troops on the ground,” said Griffeth.
The cargo consisted of a thirty-two foot pallet holding an air deliverable bridge.
“This entire mission was a proof of concept iteration,” said Jimmie Rawls III, a VMGR-352 crewmaster. “We basically proved that we do have this capability, and we can utilize it when we are deployed.”
The ability to conduct aerial drops with mission essential ground equipment allows Marines to bypass dangerous ground routes when forward deployed.
“There are situations when we are unable to deliver a transportable bridge using ground vehicles,” said Griffeth. “This capability allows us the assurance that we can get the ground troops what they need regardless of what is in their way.”
This mission iteration allowed both the ACE and the LCE the ability to work hand-in-hand, giving them knowledge and experience to employ when conducting heavy drops in the future.
“We frequently insert troops utilizing the air element,” said Griffeth. “This is another opportunity for us to work directly with the ACE and ensure we can accomplish the mission.”