ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (WJZ)— The military cuts known as “BRAC” resulted in many programs moving to Maryland.  But, as part of that realignment, eight large cargo planes were taken away from the Maryland Air National Guard.

Now, with an exclusive look, Mike Schuh was aboard the replacement plane on its first-of-a-kind mission.

It’s about half the size of the plane it replaces. Totally modern, they call it a C-27. The Maryland Air Guard is among the first in the country to get them.

For the first time, members of the Maryland National Guard jumped out of the Air Guard’s newest plane.

Two miles up, they step off the open back door and free fall for over a mile before they pull their chutes. It’s a maneuver called a “halo.”

To the civilians, what does “halo” mean?

“High altitude, low open,”  Maj. Gen. James Adkins said.

Maj. Gen. Adkins  is Maryland’s top soldier. Besides pure military missions, he sees these new planes being used for disaster and humanitarian missions.

“It’s a great aircraft,” Adkins said. “If we have to support civilian authorities we can get into smaller airports with this aircraft.”

Three times on this day, these special forces soldiers, most with Afghanistan experience,  climb aboard to get familiar with their new ride.

This time they land in Maryland. But with just a phone call, they and those in the Air Guard could find themselves half a world away.

Right now Maryland is home to three of those planes and another one is on the way.


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