by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey,
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
1/28/2015 - BAF BASE BANGABANDHU, Bangladesh -- The
flight line here at Exercise COPE SOUTH 15 is usually a flurry of
activity every morning, with maintainers firing up auxiliary power units
and loadmasters finalizing their cargo plan.
However on Jan. 27, there wasn't a single C-130 aircraft engine running.
Instead, U.S. and Bangladesh Air Force Airmen were busy forging
relationships and exchanging knowledge in their respective fields with
CS15 features subject-matter expert exchanges, also known as SMEEs,
across a multitude of Air Force specialties, including operations,
maintenance and rigging disciplines. Airmen from Yokota Air Base, Japan,
have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their respective BAF
counterparts and learn aspects of each other's duties and technical
"SMEE day is probably the most important block of time here at COPE
SOUTH," said Maj. Adam Staubach, COPE SOUTH mission commander. "It's
really where the exercise takes off in terms of developing an
understanding of each other's capabilities and sharing ways in which we
can operate more cohesively as a unified force."
Staff Sgt. Scott Sorensen, a 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130H
guidance and control system technician, had an opportunity to engage
with several BAF maintenance personnel who share his specialty and
discuss a variety of aircraft maintenance matters.
"Although the BAF maintainers work on the C-130B and we work on the
C-130H, we are very similar in a lot of ways," Sorensen said. "They've
seen and done a lot of things with the Herc during their careers. As a
fellow maintainer, I can appreciate their attention to detail and
commitment to keep it flying 100 percent."
One of the busiest exchanges happened in the cargo hold area of the
flight line, where riggers and loadmasters from Yokota's 374th Airlift
Wing demonstrated their patented low-cost, low-altitude, or LCLA,
airdrop bundle techniques to Bangladeshi Airmen.
The LCLA airdrop configuration utilizes minimal rigging supplies and
decommissioned personnel parachutes that are still serviceable to
deliver customized cargo -- such as humanitarian aid and disaster relief
-- in bundles up to 600 pounds. Additionally, it can be rigged in a
"coastal" configuration suitable for a shoreline drop zone.
"LCLA offers a cheap, effective and accurate delivery system that is
transferable across the tactical airlift, especially the C-130,
community," said Staff. Sgt. Wantani Redo, a U.S. Army-certified rigger
assigned to the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "This region is
prone to floods and natural disasters, so we're excited and proud to
share this innovative airdrop method with our Bangladeshi partners."
To further demonstrate the technique, two LCLA bundles configured by
Yokota and BAF Airmen were loaded on a BAF C-130B aircraft for delivery
to a forward drop zone near Sylhet. The following day, Bangladeshi
Airmen pushed the bundles from the ramp of their C-130 where each
successfully landed in its designated drop area.
"Days like today are an important way to learn not only about each
other, but how we can improve our teamwork as Airmen," Wantani said.