Logistics: Parachute Mechanics Makes Big Score


August 21, 2007: Ten years later, the U.S. Army got around to saving $25 million by fixing some parachutes. This all began back in the early 1990s, when the United States was providing air transportation for dropping humanitarian supplies into Bosnian refugees surrounded by hostile forces. The parachutes used, were modified to fall faster than usual, to prevent them from being shot out of the air. When a peace deal was finally reached, and the parachute drops were no longer needed, there were still 6,100 of the modified parachutes left. As modified, they were of no use for military drops. So the parachutes, worth about $4,000 each, sat in a warehouse. About three years ago, someone realized that there were reserve units (Quartermaster units) that specialized in repairing and packing parachutes. These units went on active duty for several weeks each year. Why not have the reservists, as part of their active duty (which is meant for training), fix the parachutes, and restore them to their original state? That would put about $25 million worth of cargo parachutes back in inventory. A lot of these cargo chutes were being used in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They were needed. It took about 45 minutes to fix and repack each parachute, and over the last three years, that exactly what the reservists did.

When the army does something right, it isn't considered news. But it is worth knowing. Just to put things into perspective.




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