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Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patches holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The Santa Barbara, Calif., guard unit -- TDY for their three-week overseas training -- converted more than 6,200 parachutes originally modified for use in Bosnia in the early 90s.
Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patches holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The Santa Barbara, Calif., guard unit -- TDY for their three-week overseas training -- converted more than 6,200 parachutes originally modified for use in Bosnia in the early 90s. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patches holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The Santa Barbara, Calif., guard unit -- TDY for their three-week overseas training -- converted more than 6,200 parachutes originally modified for use in Bosnia in the early 90s.
Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patches holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The Santa Barbara, Calif., guard unit -- TDY for their three-week overseas training -- converted more than 6,200 parachutes originally modified for use in Bosnia in the early 90s. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Spc. Dion Gutierrez and Sgt. Kathryn Johns, Army National Guard soldiers from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patch holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The reworked chutes that have been shelved since 1994 will be put back into operational use.
Spc. Dion Gutierrez and Sgt. Kathryn Johns, Army National Guard soldiers from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), patch holes made in cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. The reworked chutes that have been shelved since 1994 will be put back into operational use. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), sorts through cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany.
Spc. Dion Gutierrez, an Army National Guard soldier from the 128th Quartermaster Company (Air Drop Light), sorts through cargo chutes Tuesday at the Miesau Ammunition Depot, Germany. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

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.

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