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NEWS | Sept. 18, 2020

Georgia National Guard hosts POMPOC

By Spc. Tori Miller Georgia National Guard

The Georgia National Guard hosted the annual Parachute Operation Mishap Preventative Orientation Course (POMPOC) in Savannah, Ga. on Sept. 14 – 18, 2020. This year, the weeklong event brought together over 110 jumpmasters, parachute riggers and airborne Soldiers from Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard components from around the country into one forum where they conducted classes and seminars to discuss new trends, procedures, and equipment in the airborne community.

“On an annual basis, there are a lot of thing that change in the jumpmaster and rigger world for standardization and safety,” Said Col. John Till, Georgia Department of Defense Safety Occupational Health Director, and the coordinator of POMPOC in Georgia. “This event is the best time to get all the jumpmasters and riggers from around the country and around the world, we have had folks from other countries participate in the past, and let them know what has changed over the last year.”

POMPOC brings in vendors from around the country to test out equipment, assist jumpers in finding and filling their equipment needs and jumpers also provide aid in research. During the week, Soldiers had the opportunity to sign up and test different equipment such as the virtual reality parachute jump simulator, Parasim.

“Our vendors come in a variety, but all are meeting the needs of the airborne community,” said Till. “Some jumpers may have trouble finding a product that may assist them in accomplishing their mission. An example of this is the U.S. Army Research Lab is currently working on a project for head trauma and impact.”

Programs and events like POMPOC provide feedback to engineers to further studies for Soldier safety on future jumps in training environments and in combat.

Due to inclement weather during most of the training week, vendors and training were hosted inside at the Georgia National Guard Air Dominance Center, Savannah, Ga. The Georgia National Guard ensured that Soldiers were following guidelines set due to COVID-19 restrictions. Soldiers were required prior to the event to ensure that they were not showing signs of illness and had their temperatures checked daily.

“When Soldier’s arrived, we understood that they were coming from all over so when they reported for check in, they had their initial screening completed and that includes temperature checks and the questionnaire,” said Till. “Then, throughout the week we reminded Soldiers to maintain the social distancing of 6-feet or more and that included when we were in classes, we had the chairs social distanced. If they could not maintain social distancing of 6-feet or more, they would be asked to wear a mask.”

By Friday, late afternoon, the moment that POMPOC participants had waited all week for, arrived. There was a break in the weather, and they were able to complete 83 jumps on a CH-47 Chinook before wrapping up a successful week of training.

“Overall, this year was excellent, although the standard interaction that we see during our Q & A was diminished when presenting multiple topics through Microsoft Teams,” Said Till. “ We had many subject matter experts attending this year that provided feedback and fielded questions based on their interactions with the Aerial Delivery Malfunction Review Board, the 507th PIR Airborne School, U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School and the Program Manager-Soldiers Clothing and Individual Clothing directorate. Also, the cooperation of our own Georgia Air National Guard 169th Aviation and MEDCOMs support helped us conduct the airborne operations after adverse weather made us postpone the jump and extend the event an extra day.”