Airmen attending the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise at Pope AFB, N.C., recently used a new emergency parachute jettison device for the first time. In development since 1997, the new tool was created to quickly and safely jettison malfunctioning parachutes during airdrop sorties involving heavy equipment. Loadmasters from Dyess AFB, Tex., and Little Rock AFB, Ark., participated in the exercise. MSgt. Steven Pyszka, a loadmaster training instructor from Air Mobility Command headquarters, said that current protocol states that aircrews must take a knife to loads that fail to drop and try to cut the lines by hand to release the load. The new device, which should be operational in 2007, initiates a quick release “at the flip of a switch,” he added.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.