Reservist paratroopers from the British and US Armies have shared their parachuting skills, building relationships and the ability to operate together as NATO allies.
Exercise Airdrop Warrior saw some 50 paratroopers from the US 352nd Civil Affairs Command (352nd CACOM) travel across the Atlantic to join forces with 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA) for a parachuting skills exchange based out of RAF Brize Norton.
The US paratroopers carried out ground training on British Low Level Parachutes (LLP), while the British troops earned their US wings by jumping under T-11 parachutes. The training culminated in a combined jump onto Salisbury Plain from a US Air Force C-130 from 71st Rescue Squadron, which flew over from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for the training, followed by a wings parade on the drop zone.
The work is about building relationships between British and US airborne forces and developing their ability to share resources, providing a more flexible and capable force with a better understanding of each other’s capabilities when working together as NATO allies. The link between the two units dates back to 2013 when 4 PARA trained with 352nd CACOM at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US airborne forces.
4 PARA’s Captain Joe Busby said: “Unfortunately, the weather in Oxfordshire refused to play ball for the first few days and the winds were too high for our American counterparts to jump under UK parachutes.
"However, by the end of the weekend 133 US T-11 Parachute jumps had been conducted over six lifts onto Everleigh DZ (Drop Zone), with our soldiers enjoying the novel experience of jumping from the tail ramp!
Plans are already in place for another exchange next year, where American paratroopers hope to try their hand at exiting from an RAF A400M, and for British troops to go to Miami and try their hand at the steerable US MC-6 parachute.” Captain Joe Busby
“Plans are already in place for another exchange next year, where American paratroopers hope to try their hand at exiting from an RAF A400M, and for British troops to go to Miami and try their hand at the steerable US MC-6 parachute.”
4 PARA is The Parachute Regiment’s Army Reserve battalion, based at Thornbury Barracks in Leeds with detachments across the country. It provides reservists held at high readiness to support its regular counterparts in 2 and 3 PARA when they deploy on operations as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army’s global response force.
Based at Fort Meade in Maryland, 352nd CACOM role is to be the interface between civilian authorities and the military in an operational theatre. As a reserve unit, its soldiers have skills and understanding from their civilian jobs that assist in their military work.