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Flying Yankees support joint paratrooper training

U.S. Army paratroopers standby while approaching their designated drop zone aboard a C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing Oct. 8, 2014, in the skies above Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. This is the second opportunity for the Flying Yankees to successfully aid in the preparation and execution of paratrooper air drops during joint Army air transportation training missions with their newly-assigned aircraft. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Tufic Paone)

U.S. Army paratroopers standby while approaching their designated drop zone aboard a C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing Oct. 8, 2014, in the skies above Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. This is the second opportunity for the Flying Yankees to successfully aid in the preparation and execution of paratrooper air drops during joint Army air transportation training missions with their newly-assigned aircraft. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Tufic Paone)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Airmen from the 103rd Airlift Wing supported multiple joint Army air transportation training missions on Sept. 5 and Oct. 8, 2014.

The first JAATT mission supported by the Connecticut Air National Guard took place in the skies above Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia, where members the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force received hands-on paratrooper training while aboard a C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing.

There were approximately 600 trainees and two aircraft rotating constantly to get them in the sky and dropped, said Lt. Col. William Daniels, a pilot assigned to the 118th Airlift Squadron.

The Flying Yankees supported an additional JAATT mission the following month when a C-130H assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing lifted 20 U.S. Army paratroopers alongside another Connecticut C-130H containing heavy equipment. The heavy equipment was a simulated tactical re-fueling station that held blivets full of water rather than actual fuel, and the necessary equipment to ensure the load would safely land on the ground.

The equipment was initially dropped and closely followed by the paratroopers. In actual operations, once both are on the ground, the paratroopers would set up the station, allowing helicopters to stop and refuel in these designated forward-operating areas.

Each C-130H is operated with a crew of officers and enlisted Airmen that worked together to ensure a smooth operation.  Once approaching the drop zone, the pilots signal the crew to initiate the drop process. The goal is to hit the initial target and have one continuous line of paratroopers follow.

A number of variables must be considered in order to complete a successful air drop and a seasoned team is critical to that success.  Teamwork is developed through practice and training.

"This training allows us to grow as a team and brings us one step closer to becoming an operational unit and bringing the fight to the enemy," said Daniels.

The successful execution of this new mission capability marks another stepping-stone for the Flying Yankees as their mission conversion continues.