19 AW tests bounds of capabilities; conducts airdrop following MEO

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Cullen Drenkhahn
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing tested its limits by conducting a tactical airdrop following a 30-hour Maximum Endurance Operation during the Gnarly Explodeo readiness exercise at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2024.

This marks the first time a C-130 crew has conducted a MEO and immediately executed a tactical combat airdrop upon arrival. This feat demonstrates the 19th AW’s capability to span the globe and immediately conduct missions in theater, minimizing the time it takes to get to the fight.

“Conducting a 30-hour continuous MEO in itself is a significant undertaking, stressing the body both physically and mentally,” said Capt. Chris Gullo, 41st Airlift Squadron chief of tactics and pilot. “Executing a tactical mass container delivery system airdrop immediately after the 30-hour MEO increases the stress and difficulty even further. With our routine training, skills, and focus, our team was able to accomplish the night low-level ingress and successfully resupply the drop zone after 35 hours of continuous duty.”

During a 30-hour endurance mission, the crew may be deployed to a remote or austere location where resupply options are limited. The mass CDS airdrop allows for the efficient and rapid delivery of essential supplies, such as food, water, medical equipment, ammunition, and fuel, to sustain military forces or support humanitarian efforts. This ensures that personnel on the ground receive the necessary resources without delay, maintaining operational effectiveness and supporting mission success.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the unwavering dedication and flawless execution of our aircrew during this piece of the mission,” said Col. Denny Davies, 19th AW and installation commander. “Their resilience, skill, and commitment to excellence exemplify the very essence of our profession. This accomplishment not only underscores the prowess of our Air Force but also validates our unwavering capability to project airpower across the globe at a moment's notice. Their performance stands as a testament to our collective strength and readiness in the face of any challenge."

With the vast distances and logistical challenges of modern warfare, Air Mobility Command’s ability to deliver at pace, speed, and scale is unmatched and essential to maintaining relevance in the fight.

The successful mobilization, deployment, and sustainment functions displayed in Explodeo are what the Joint Force relies on to be fully prepared for any combat scenario.