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Jump week brings five NATO countries together

by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/17/2010 - ALZEY, Germany (AFNS) -- More than 100 paratroopers from five NATO countries conducted about 300 personnel drops June 15 here.

The three-day airborne jump training is part of International Jump Week meant to build partnerships and capabilities needed to meet future challenges.

The paratroopers from Belgium, Germany, England, Norway and the Air Force and Marine Corps jumped from a C-17 Globemaster III from the Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa Air Base, Hungary and a C-130J Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Though this isn't the first time NATO countries have participated in jump week, it was the first time the recently stood up HAW participated.

"The wing hasn't even been activated for a full year yet," said Master Sgt. Jason Brown, the HAW chief loadmaster. "It's great that we are able to be a part of this and contribute to this awesome event."

Although earning their foreign wings is an accomplishment in itself, the event allows each of the nation's servicemembers to take away new capabilities and experiences.

"It's amazing to get everyone together and share what they know with each other," said Tech. Sgt. David Edwards, the 435th Contingency Response Group NCO in charge of airborne operations. "It's also beneficial for the other countries participating, if they were to deploy to Afghanistan, because from the training, they would understand how the U.S. military works."

Building partnerships and allowing servicemembers to meet one another while training was another key focus during the event.

"The jumps provide them the opportunity to get together, get some training and experience the jump with multiple nations," Sergeant Edwards said. "This training is an experience that I hope many others will be able to take advantage of in the years to come."

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