Texas Army National Guard conducted its first High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) operation at Camp Swift, near Bastrop Texas, June 27, 2023.
Soldiers from across the United States came together in the Texas locale to execute multiple HALO jumps as part of a mission validation exercise.
Although the Texas Army National Guard has HALO qualified Soldiers, this was the first time the Texas Guard has owned the operation and supplied the parachutes and aircraft.
The 197th Special Troops Support Company Special Operations Airborne from Camp Bullis, San Antonito Texas received the RA-1 Advanced RAM AIR Parachute System (ARAPS) in March of 2023, after four years of working with Force Management to update their Modification Tables of Organization and Equipment (MTOE).
The 197th STSC is one of only two units in the United States that are operationally controlled to the 528th Sustainment Brigade during wartime missions.
“The request for the MTOE change met the requirements of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Regulation 350-2 Chapter 2” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Kanzler, senior airdrop systems technician. “It states that the command Parachute Riggers are utilized effectively, efficiently and those aerial delivery subject matter experts are qualified to meet the widest spectrum of aerial delivery requirements for the Army Special Operations and interoperability with USSACOM and coalition units.”
The overall mission of the 197th STSC (SO) (A) is to provide rapidly deployable sustainment support, which includes providing personnel parachutes to ARSOF elements.
“These parachutes are intended to improve the survivability of the airborne Soldier and preserve the commander’s available combat power when conducting military freefall operations, during both combat and training missions,” said Kanzler.
This new capability to perform these intricate operations will give the Texas National Guard a set of new opportunities in the future according to Sgt. Joseph Briseno an aerial delivery specialist.
“It opens up a gateway for Texas to conduct these types of operations with Special Forces, who primarily utilize this type of canopy,” Briseno said. “It allows us to integrate our capabilities and enhance our skills as it pertains to our mission essential tasks.”
Part of Briseno’s responsibility during the free fall event was ensuring the safety of the equipment as it was being placed into service for the first time, and as it was being used for the day’s operation.
“All the Riggers that participated in in-servicing the parachutes needed to pass the RA-1 Rigger new equipment training or NET prior to working with the parachutes,” Briseno said. “This course is crucial in ensuring the utmost safety for the jumpers today.”
Kanzler and Briseno are recent graduates of the MFF course and are employed at the Aerial Delivery Facility at Camp Mabry in Austin Texas, which oversaw the inventorying and in-servicing of the 36 new RA-1 parachutes for the operation.
“Now Texas can conduct infiltration techniques throughout the world through military freefall operations; something we weren’t able to do solely on our own.” Said an Alpha Company, 5th Battalion 19th Special Forces Group Soldier.
Friday, July 7, 2023 3:43:00 PM