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Big Drop: Lifeliners deliver pallets of food, gifts to troops

 

Written by U.S. Army Spc. Adam L. Mathis
17th Public Affairs Detachment, Task Force Gladiator

Lifeliners

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionBagram Airfield, Afghanistan – Three days before Christmas Brian Burrell of Pensacola, FL, wasn’t at home with his family or on vacation in a sunny locale, he was rapidly descending toward the ground in Afghanistan in a Casa 212 airplane.

The plane’s descent stopped roughly 150 feet above the ground and the back door opened. A buzzer sounded and Burrell, a civilian loadmaster at Bagram Airfield, pulled a lever and parachutes deployed as pallets stacked with food and gifts from the United States slid out the back of the plane, headed to the grateful servicemembers of Forward Operating Base Joyce. 

Pallets of supplies that include donations from the Fort Campbell, KY, can be seen at Forward Operating Base Joyce during the “Big Drop” by 101st Sustainment Brigade, Task Force Lifeliners, 101st Airborne Division, Dec. 22nd. The drop was made by air in an effort to reduce the number of convoys and, thus, possible improvised explosive attacks. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Adam L. Mathis, 17th Public Affairs Detachment)

Pallets of supplies that include donations from the Fort Campbell, KY, can be seen at Forward Operating Base Joyce during the “Big Drop” by 101st Sustainment Brigade, Task Force Lifeliners, 101st Airborne Division, Dec. 22nd. The drop was made by air in an effort to reduce the number of convoys and, thus, possible improvised explosive attacks. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Adam L. Mathis, 17th Public Affairs Detachment)

“It feels good to deliver all of this stuff,” Burrell said.

The “stuff” was part of what the 101st Sustainment Brigade, Task Force Lifeliners, 101st Airborne Division calls the “Big Drop.” Servicemembers and civilians took to the air December 22nd and will continue through Christmas to deliver supplies and donated gifts to forward operating bases that normally do not have access to many of the items people use on a daily basis.

From almost the day they arrived in Afghanistan, Lifeliners were working on this project.

“People spent a lot of money, you know, not just on the items themselves, but they paid a lot for the postage because everybody just seemed to think that they wanted Soldiers to feel that what they were doing was important and that they were missed at Christmas at their homes,” said TF Lifeliners U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Tammie Crews of Fort Campbell, KY.

Crews said the number of donations they received took days to organize. The 101st and TF Lifeliners donated items for the residents of the outlying FOBs.

“This whole project, I think, is an expression again of how much people appreciate what Soldiers do, regardless of if they understand it or regardless of what they think about the war, they care about the Soldier,” Crews said.

Though the Big Drop ends on Christmas, the work of the sustainment brigade is not over. The post-holiday season is time for them to thank everyone who supported the Soldiers.
   
“What will happen after Christmas is the long task of writing to everybody to say … how thankful we are,” Crews said.


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