Since 1950 the Quartermaster Corps has been responsible for training the Army’s parachute riggers and aerial supply personnel. Quartermaster parachute riggers, distinguished by their red caps and working by the motto, “I Will Be Sure Always,” perform their mission with the utmost skill and attention. Airborne soldiers place their lives daily in the hands of Quartermaster-trained riggers. The gallery explores the operational history of aerial delivery and parachute rigging beginning in World War II with the operations to supply Allied forces in the China-Burma-India Theater and in Northern Europe and continuing through Operation Enduring Freedom recently conducted in Afghanistan. Artifacts include a variety of aerial delivery containers used since World War II that trace the evolution of aerial supply rigging techniques. The original rigger wings, designed by MAJ Thomas Cross in 1948, will also be exhibited.
Among the Quartermaster Rigger units that are highlighted are the 8081st QM Air Supply and Packaging Company, who rigged supplies during the Korean War, the 109th QM Company (Air Delivery), who packed supplies during the Vietnam War, and the 5th QM Detachment who rig the loads dropped over Afghanistan.
As the relationship between hygiene and diseases became better understood in the late 1800’s and it was recognized that soldiers needed field bath facilities, the Quartermaster Corps was given the mission of operating field laundry and bath facilities. Today’s laundry and bath specialist, as well as fabric repair specialists, carry on the mission of providing those field services that at one time also included salvage and repair of discarded equipment. The gallery also portrays their story, one of supporting the health and comfort of soldiers in the field.