Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Parachuting’ Category

“Triple 7” Record Setting Skydiving Expedition Documentary Drops into Five Cities for Red Carpet Premieres

Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Legacy Expeditions, Folds of Honor announce documentary film premiere dates

AUSTIN—April 17, 2024— The much-anticipated documentary “Triple 7: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done,” directed and produced by Dan Myrick (“The Blair Witch Project”) and produced by Kristian Krempel, is set to premiere in five cities in May. The film follows a team of nine former U.S. and Canadian special operations service members as they attempt to achieve skydiving’s most elusive feat, the Triple 7— seven skydives on seven continents in seven days. Spearheaded by retired Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille, the film aims to raise $7 million for Folds of Honor.

“Triple 7” will roll out the red carpet between May 11-16 in New York, Tampa, Austin, Dallas, and Los Angeles, respectively. Expedition members and filmmakers will be available to the media in the days leading up to the New York premiere and at each city’s red-carpet event.

“The road to this theatrical release for ‘Triple 7’ has been a deeply personal and collective commitment at Legacy Expeditions. Spanning three years, the endeavor of the expedition and creating the documentary was significant, but the cause—to etch the legacy of our fallen into the annals of history—made every challenge worth facing,” said Sarraille. “The excitement of the adventure and the emotional depth of our shared stories will, I hope, touch the hearts of viewers, both through laughter and tears, reminding us all to never forget and to forever honor those who gave everything.”

Premiere Dates and Cities: Tickets may be purchased at legacyexpeditions.com.

• New York City: May 11 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. EDT
LOOK Dine-In Cinemas W57- 657 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019

• Tampa: May 13 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
The Tampa Theatre- 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602

• Austin: May 14 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Alamo Drafthouse, South Lamar- 1120 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704

• Dallas: May 15 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
The Texas Theatre- 231 Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, TX 75208

• Los Angeles: May 16 at 7:30 p.m. PDT
Landmark Theaters Sunset- 8000 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046 

“When approached by Mike to document their world record attempt with the aim of raising $7 million for Folds of Honor, I saw an opportunity beyond mere spectacle,” said Myrick. “It became a personal mission to delve into the motivations and profound purpose driving this group of individuals often misunderstood in contemporary society. What unfolded was a profound exploration of a multi-faceted collective: highly skilled and committed soldiers intertwined with heartfelt, humorous, and contemplative human beings.”

Airborne Troops Drop Test New Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles

Thursday, April 4th, 2024

FORT LIBERTY, North Carolina – Airborne logistics Soldiers here just completed airdrop testing of the Army’s newest Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.

Troops of the 151st Quartermaster Company, 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, put the vehicles through a series of Low Velocity Airdrop configurations.

The M1093A2 FMTV is a fleet of vehicles set to modernize the Army’s capabilities with its advanced design, compared to its aging predecessor, the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.

Assistant Program Manager Mr. Tom McDaniels, U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support, emphasized the strategic importance of the M1093A2 FMTV.

“This Army program delivers an airdrop-capable vehicle that excels in multiple mission roles, offering protected, sustained, and networked mobility for personnel and payloads in a wide range of military operations,” he said.

The series of tests at Fort Liberty kicked off with comprehensive Operator’s Training (OT) and New Equipment Training (NET) delivered by expert trainers from Oshkosh, the vehicle manufacturer.

The training ensured the paratroopers were fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain the vehicle throughout the airborne testing phase.

Staff Sgt. Shahbaz Shakil Ahmed, a motor transport operator from the 151st Quartermaster Company, explained the rigorous testing process as the Soldiers demonstrated exceptional skill and precision by successfully rigging, airdropping, and recovering the FMTV, followed by thorough rigorous road tests to validate its operational readiness and full mission capability.

He said he was eager to transition to the new FMTVs, highlighting the significant improvements in survivability, payload capability, and his pride in contributing to the vehicle’s airdrop rigging development.

The testing agenda included low-velocity airdrops and subsequent road tests to assess the vehicle’s maximum load capacity, all critical steps towards achieving final airdrop certification from the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Command.

Sgt. 1st Class. Dao Le, a project NCO with ABNSOTD’s Aerial Delivery Rigging Branch, said the testing process is meticulous.

“Every piece of equipment Soldiers use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future Army needs and requirements,” he said.

Mr. Aaron Clark, a military test plans analyst with ABNSOTD involved in Low Velocity Airdrop FMTV testing, captured the essence of the effort.

“Operational testing is about Soldiers,” he said. “It’s about ensuring the systems we develop are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight.”

The airdrop missions were executed using U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 aircraft, which reflect a significant advancement in military logistics and capability, setting a new standard for operational excellence and readiness, according to Clark.

“Operational testing is OTC’s opportunity to contribute to readiness; anything less compromises the Army’s ability to provide the forces that fight and win the nation’s wars,” Clark added.

Mr. Bill Slaven, branch chief of ABNSOTD’s Test Division, shed light on integration of systems under examination into actual missions and training agendas of test units.

“Unit commanders get an early opportunity to evaluate new systems, potentially influencing modifications in operational tactics and military doctrine,” he said.

“The unique aspect of these tests is that they are led by the units themselves, ensuring a seamless melding of control within authentic operational environment scenarios.”

According to Maj. Joshua Cook, chief of the ABNSOTD’s Test Division, every piece of equipment Soldiers use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future Army needs and requirements.

“We test and assess Army, Joint, and Multi-service airborne and airdrop-related warfighting systems in realistic operational environments by using Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable,” he said.

“The commitment to testing and assessing equipment aims to ascertain their effectiveness, suitability, and survivability.”

By Mr. James Cochran and Mr. Aaron Clark, Military Test Plans Analysts, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs

US Army Special Operations Museum Launches New Exhibit

Sunday, March 10th, 2024

WASHINGTON — On March 14th, 2024, the U.S. Army Special Operations Museum will launch an exciting new exhibit, “Opening the Vaults” at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, formerly Fort Bragg.

Opening The Vaults: Treasures of the Fort Liberty Museums is a temporary exhibit that will present rare and never-before-seen artifacts from the Fort Liberty Museums and historical holdings.

The exhibition is a collaborative effort with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum, 82d Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, U.S. Army Reserve Command History Office, and the 503d Military Police Battalion (Airborne).

ASOM, constructed in 2000, is the first U.S. Army Museum built outside the perimeters of an Army installation. Artifacts from the Fort Liberty Museum Enterprise as well as assets from the U.S. Army Center of Military History (John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum) will be housed together and accessible to the public, in the heart of downtown, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Jim Bartlinski, Director of the Fort Liberty Museum Enterprise, said, “we thought that this would be a good opportunity not only to showcase rare artifacts, and never before seen artifacts, that we have here at ASOM, but also to give folks who necessarily don’t know about the museums on Fort Liberty the chance to see what those museums offer.”

This exhibition tells the story of the Army Reserve, Special Forces, and the 82d Airborne Division.  “So, it is a great collaborative effort for all of us.”

Historical panels were designed for each museum’s section by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum. The 503d Military Police Battalion, the only airborne military police battalion in the U.S. Army provided uniformed mannequins to “guard” the vault, while drawing in visitors to the exhibit.

The exhibit will also feature a “Seek and Learn” activity geared towards interacting with children to learn about the history of the U.S. Army, developed by ASOM’s Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Monk.

ASOM Curator, Jimmie Hallis, said, “The exhibit is a first of its kind at the Fort Liberty Army Museum Enterprise.”

“Everyone (involved in the exhibition) jumped right on board with it. Up until the artifact installation dates, I really didn’t even know what the other museums would bring. The selection of artifacts run the history realm, from the Civil War to the Global War on Terror, there is something for everyone to see,” Hallis said.

To see the exhibit, visit the U.S. Army Special Operations Museum web page for location and operating hours. Go to: history.army.mil and click on the Museums tab.

Story by CPT Janeen R. Phelps

Photos by James Bartlinski

First Sky Soldier Earns Italian Jumpmaster Title

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

VICENZA, Italy – Few achievements stand out for a paratrooper as distinctly as earning foreign jump wings. U.S. Army Sgt. Mathew Pous, a paratrooper with 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, took this one step further, etching his name into history as the first ‘Sky Soldier’ to attain the title of Italian Jumpmaster.

Pous completed the Italian Jumpmaster School Dec. 18, 2023, in Pisa, a short distance from the city’s famed leaning tower.

The Sky Soldiers of the 173rd, forward-stationed in Vicenza, Italy, routinely conduct airborne operations alongside their Italian paratrooper counterparts of the Folgore Brigade, but Pous is the first to complete the rigorous Italian school. Paratroopers who successfully pass the course are certified to safely lead an airborne operation in the Italian Army.

“I’m extremely proud to have graduated from the Italian Jumpmaster Course,” said Pous. “Being the first from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the third overall from the U.S. Army is an honor.”

As with its Italian counterpart, the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School is notoriously difficult. Candidates must memorize a series of intricate parachute inspection sequences to ensure paratroopers are safely rigged into their harness and able to exit the aircraft safely mid-flight.

“Immediately, they were surprised at how good my Italian was,” said Pous. “That I even use Italian slang and lingo to fit in. They appreciated my enthusiasm and respect for their culture, which lifted any barriers or reservations they had prior to meeting me.”

Pous shared that he started learning Italian at the dining facility in Vicenza on base, asking the Italian cooks how to say ‘eggs sunny side up’ and other words.

“I think it’s an added value to open up to another culture and understand their point of view and lifestyle,” he said.

After about a year of practice, he felt sufficiently fluent to tackle the difficult course.

The Italian Jumpmaster School emphasizes adaptability and cross-cultural collaboration. Soldiers are trained to execute their duties seamlessly together with international partners, reflecting Italy’s commitment to participating in multinational operations.

“Attending the school is not only about being a Jumpmaster and knowing how to speak Italian, but being a representative of the U.S. Army,” said Pous.

Prior to his experience in Pisa, Pous completed the U.S. Army Jumpmaster course just three months earlier, Sept. 18, 2023, after completing 35 jumps as a paratrooper. To assist himself and others with the finer details of airborne operations, Pous video documented his progress through the Italian course, as well as several of his multinational jumps.

He shared that one of the key differences between the U.S. and Italian schools lies in what each course emphasizes the most.

“U.S. Jumpmasters have a safety who swings the static lines and that is their primary focus as paratroopers exit the aircraft,” said Pous.

Pous explained that, instead of safeties, Italian Assistant Jumpmasters swing the static lines, then observe each jumper exit the aircraft, checking that the light is still green. Only then, in one fluid motion, does the assistant reach for the next jumper’s static line.

“It was challenging because I wasn’t used to that. I had to learn a new way and build new muscle memory,” said Pous.

Another difference Pous noted was both U.S. primary and assistant Jumpmasters jump out of the aircraft. In the Italian army, the Jumpmaster and assistant remain aboard the entire time, landing with the aircraft at the end of the airborne operation.

“Also, American pre-jump includes four pages of text that must be recited verbatim, whereas the Italian pre-jump consists of a number of bullet points you must convey, but you have the freedom to explain it in your own words,” said Pous. “The advantage is that Jumpmasters can emphasize certain parts in more detail if needed. In this way, jumpers are more attentive when they know something new might be shared.”

Both schools were very professional and meticulous, he added.

Over the three-week course, Pous successfully completed five different Jumpmaster duties, all conducted in Italian. He also served as the Jumpmaster to Italian airborne students, helping them graduate from airborne school.

“My best memory was probably having coffee right after morning formation every day. It was like a ritual,” said Pous. “Everyone would go, students and instructors alike. As their guest, they never let me pay for my own coffee and brioche!”

The morning coffee ritual served as a moment to start the day slowly, said Pous, talking about everything from the course to food to culture, vacation destinations and history.

But the course itself was all business, with the “difficulty level super high but achievable,” according to Pous. “I liked that they work hard and take their job seriously. They’re experts for sure.”

Pous’ graduation ceremony offered a glimpse into the close cooperation between the U.S. and Italian militaries.

“We know that it is an honor for him to graduate our Italian Jumpmaster School,” said Italian Army Col. Antonio D’agostino, commander of Centro Addestramento Paracadutismo, the Italian airborne school in Pisa. “Just know that it is also an honor for us, as Italians, to present this diploma to him as a representative of the United States of America and the U.S. Army.”

The motivation to excel is deeply ingrained in the ethos of airborne units, where precision and efficiency can be a matter of life and death.

“Sgt. Pous is a great example of someone who takes his job seriously and recognizes our role as ambassadors in a foreign country,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sheldon Broedel, commander of 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. “He was motivated to learn Italian, forged many lasting relationships along the way, and successfully represented the U.S. Army in earning Italian Jumpmaster status.”

Pous said the next stop for him might be U.S. Pathfinder School or Air Assault School because he would like to complete the circle on his airborne knowledge. He also will soon complete a divemaster course on his own time in Padova, Italy.

“My next goal would be to attend French Jumpmaster School since I also speak French,” he said. “But that’s going to take some coordination.”

For more information about the 173rd Airborne Brigade, visit www.skysoldiers.army.mil

By MAJ Joe Legros

Airborne Test Force Tests Field Radio Ruck to Survive Airborne Combat Missions

Saturday, February 10th, 2024

The U.S. Army Airborne Test Force (ATF) located at Yuma Test Center, Yuma Proving Ground, recently tested program of record Manpack radios, the AN/PRC-158 and AN/PRC-162, managed by the Product Manager Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) inside the Army’s newest Radio Carrier Rucksack (RCR) solution. The RCR, developed and produced by the Natick Soldier Systems Center, was stressed in combat-realistic scenarios by the center to determine if the RCRs could safely support parachute operations without damage to radios or the ruck.

Soldier feedback using the legacy radio rucksack over several years of test events indicated that a solution with better weight balance, comfort, and heat dissipation was required for the user. PdM HMS initiated a competitive market research strategy, which brought a variety of industry and government rucksack solutions to Soldiers during 2022 and 2023 that led to the selection of the currently tested RCR solution.

“The competitive process really drove industry innovation, challenging the community to develop a best all-around rucksack solution in support of Army combat operations while carrying our modernized communications equipment,” said Derek Harberts, deputy PdM HMS.

“What we saw during this test are the results of a successful competitive process providing the all-around best-value to the Soldier and the taxpayers.”

The current design leverages modifications to the existing design of the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment assault pack currently fielded across the Army. Compared to the legacy RCR, the improvements allow securing the radio to the pack frame for better weight, balancing, and cooling. Modifications to the ruck allow better access if the radio needs to be carried and operated inside the bag as well as improved stowage and access for radio ancillary and mission equipment.

“The radio harness allows the radio to be connected to the existing assault frame, while the side pouches allow for individualized space to store antennas away from other equipment and gear,” explained Bob Cohen, HMS Manpack Lead Test Engineer.

“There’s additional space in the bottom compartment that can be used to individually store spare batteries and other ancillary equipment for ease of access.”

In all, the RCR will carry the radio, a battery, an antenna, and the Soldier’s basic load of individual equipment.

Leading up to the test, Soldiers with the ATF team started by packing the rucks as they would operationally under the direction of ATF Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Cody Lavalla.

“The configuration of these rucks is slightly different then the currently issued rucks,” tells Lavalla, “We are going through the process of figuring out how to rig the harness single point release to the ruck so all the equipment will survive the jump and is safe for the jumpers.”

The harness single point release is the equipment that secures the ruck close to the jumper’s body during most of the jump and is designed to be lowered on a release line away from the jumper by pulling a release handle just prior to landing.

When the Soldiers were about 150 feet from the ground, they lowered the rucksack carrying the radio using the lowering line, making it about 15 feet below them when they landed.

“We don’t want the ruck still attached to us when we prepare to land on the ground, or we risk injuries as we do our Parachute Landing Falls,” explained Lavalla. “We pull on the release handle and the ruck falls away from our body but is still attached to us via the lowering line so the equipment is out of the way when we are ready to land. It is nearby to have access to the equipment quickly if needed once we are on the ground.”

ATF Soldiers performed several jumps throughout the week for the safety confirmation tests. A team met them on the ground to ensure their safety and monitored the jumps.

Afterwards, Air Delivery Test Officer Faith Harbolt, ATF and members of the HMS team inspected the radios to see how they held up to the test.

“The test went well. The results of the test demonstrated that the rucksacks successfully secure and protect the radios during airborne operations. There was no damage to the rucks or radios observed during the inspection that occurred after the test was complete,” said Lavalla.

The improved rucksack will be fielded to units receiving Manpack radios starting early next calendar year. When fielded, these items will be used by units such as the 82nd Airborne during combat operations.

Story by Ana Henderson, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground

Israeli Air Force – First Operational Employment of Guided Parachute System

Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

The Israeli Defense Firce has released a video of the first use of a guided resupply parachute system in Gaza. It is a precision system which utilizes ramair parachutes and the IAF has had the capability sonce 2015.

The drop was accomplished by the 103rd ‘Elephants’ Squadron of the IAF utilizing the C130J Shimson. The cargo for the mission was seven tons of water for troops fighting in Khan Yunis.

S.O.Tech Parachutists Kit Bag

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Paratrooper gear is part of S.O.Tech’s DNA.  When we were contracted to sew the Universal Parachutist Kit Bag for a major aerospace firm, we saw the huge design advantages over the old school aviator kit bag.  So when we were contracted by a major shoe company to do a collaboration on a tactical themed bag, we saw an opportunity to take the UPKB design and shrink it to gym bag dimensions.  That project was in colors to match the shoes, so this year while looking at the materials left over from our UPKB run, we saw an opportunity to make a paratrooper homage bag.

The bag is shorter and we had to drop the external flapped pocket, but otherwise nearly identical – even down to the dark red paracord we used on the zipper pulls.

Bags go live Friday 11/10 12pm PST. $180. Ships immediately. Limit 1 per customer.


S.W.O.R.D. Defense Systems AEROLITE System

Thursday, October 26th, 2023

When most people see S.W.O.R.D. Defense Systems they think of firearms, but they also manufacture air items like the AEROLITE System.

This patended, 12 ft inflatable Aerial Delivery Platform offers minimal set up and break down time.

The system rolls up when deflated and can be recovered or left pressurized and attached behind a water borne vehicle as a floating work platform. Additionally, it can be re-pressurized using the exhaust fill system and utilized as a lift bag for rescue/recovery.