RBC I Rally in the Rockies, an Air Force Reserve training operation, made its debut in Meeker. The reserve units participating were from all over the southern United States including Little Rock, Biloxi, and different locations in Missouri. The operation itself has multiple hubs with locations in Eagle County, Rifle, and Wyoming. Yesterday they landed a C-130 on a highway just outside of Guernsey, Wyoming.
The ground crew in Meeker waiting to retrieve the cargo were active duty Air Force officers Major Leyden from Peterson, Captain Bell from Camp Lejeune, and Senior Airman Jones from Little Rock, Arkansas. M Leyden and C Jones are Air Mobility Liaison Officers (AMLO) and their job is to bridge the gap between Army and Air Force for joint operations. SA Jones was in charge of actually packing, retrieving and checking the cargo and reporting on the operation.
The goal was to simulate actual mountain combat operations by dropping cargo from a C-130J. The operation had scheduled two different planes with two different cargo loads to fly from Peterson Air Force Base, drop cargo in Meeker and travel back to Peterson, with drops in Taylor Park as well. The drops, called a Low Cost Altitude Aerial Resupply, have changed over the years. What used to be made up of costly plywood is now specially constructed cardboard mixed with plywood that can withstand the drop, provide cushioning and is 100% biodegradable. The parachute for these drops is also disposable and degradable in UV light so that the resupply has minimal impact. The flight came into Meeker from Flag Creek, made its drop on the runway at Coulter Field and headed back out over the Flat Tops.
The operation will be taking place in various parts of Wyoming and Colorado until Sept. 17.
By TIFFANY JEHOREK – Special to The Herald Times