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U.S., Indonesian airmen jump into training

by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young
Defense Media Activity-Hawaii

4/26/2010 - HALIM AIR BASE, Indonesia (AFNS) -- U.S. and Indonesian airmen conducted high-altitude, low-opening jumps over the Gorda drop zone in Indonesia as part of Exercise Cope West 2010 here.

Cope West is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored bilateral tactical airlift exercise involving U.S. and Indonesian air forces designed to advance interoperability between the two services, and promote cooperation and unity of purpose.

More than 40 Indonesian airmen and four U.S. Airmen made the 5,000 foot HALO jumps from three U.S. and Indonesian C-130s. The U.S. C-130 Hercules aircrews are deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

"Jumping at Cope West has been a different experience because we've been able to deploy from 5,000 feet in comparison to the 10,000 feet that we've jumped from in the past few months," said Master Sgt. John Gaona, a jumpmaster from the 18th Weather Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C.

Because of a slight language barrier between U.S. and Indonesian participants, both teams found alternative ways to communicate during jumps.

"There was a language barrier at first, but we've been able to work through it since some hand signals are universal no matter what language you are speaking," Sergeant Gaona said.

Many of the Indonesian participants believed the training benefited everyone involved.

"I believe this training has been beneficial for all of us, so that we may continue to work together in the future when needed," said Indonesian air force Maj. Dudi Wahyudi, the Gorda Airfield commander. "When we do things like this, we learn other ways to do the same things and so do the Americans."

Cope West serves to further the cooperation between the United States and Indonesia, and is designed to foster and maintain positive relationships.

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