Ready for take off

PITTSBURGH AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- During a time of war, the United States Air Force serves as the lifeline for the Army, Marines, and Navy. Airlift squadrons around the globe fly paratroopers to hot spots, transport troops and equipment in and out of combat zones and re-supply ground forces via air drops. On July 14, 2007, the 911th Airlift Wing conducted Exercise Bold Effort to hone skills vital to keep our military operating at peak efficiency. The exercise began with a C-130 Hercules “elephant walk” at Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, the home of the 911th in Coraopolis, Pa. The eight-ship formation, something very rare in training exercises, then made its way to Rickenbacker International Airport, Columbus, Ohio. “Most C-130 bases can’t fly all of their planes at once because of scheduled maintenance, required repairs, crew manning and other issues, but we can,” said Lt. Col. Frank Amodeo, 911th Operations Group Commander. “This is a testament to how Pittsburgh gets things done.” The purpose of the flight to Ohio was to simulate a ground re-supply mission. For the second half, the C-130s broke into four 2-ship formations and tactically flew back to Pa. The objective for this leg was to execute a heavy air drop at Starvaggi Drop Zone, located near Burgettstown, Pa. At the drop zone, the ground crew made their preparations. The area was marked, and personnel from 32nd Aerial Port Squadron called in and verified coordinates and wind speed. Once they reached the proper coordinates, the load masters aboard the C-130s released the pallets out of the back of the planes. Parachutes attached to heavy equipment loads opened and the cargo drifted to the ground. The planes toward the rear of the formation were able to watch the results and make their own adjustments. After all of the pallets came to rest, the ground crew started to work recovering the cargo. Parachutes were removed and folded. Pallets were loaded onto the backs of trucks and taken away

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