6,200 formerly unusable cargo chutes back in working order
European edition, Saturday, August 18, 2007
MIESAU, Germany — Money is falling from the sky — in the form of refitted cargo parachutes.
This week, National Guardsmen with California’s 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light) finished a project that refit the last of roughly 6,200 cargo parachutes to their original state, making the previously unusable parachutes available for use.
At about $4,100 apiece, the project made $25 million worth of parachutes ready for action, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Gene Moore, with the 29th Support Group.
“The stock will be available for units to use,” Moore said.
The parachutes were modified to fall faster than normal for use in the Bosnian airdrop of the early-to-mid 1990s, when U.S. and NATO forces conducted humanitarian airdrop missions to support besieged Bosnian Muslims. However, the parachutes were not used in the operation and had no value to the military in their modified state.
About 2½ years ago, work began to return the parachutes back to their original state. National Guard and reserve soldiers from various units performed the work during their summer rotations to Germany.
Last Tuesday, soldiers with the 128th Quartermaster Company hustled inside a warehouse on Miesau Ammunition Depot, snipping lines, taping, tying and packing the massive parachutes. In the unit’s three weeks in Germany, it has refit and repackaged hundreds of parachutes in a process that takes about 45 minutes for each parachute.