British paratroopers have jumped into Latvia alongside their US counterparts to show their ability to strike hard and fast in response to crises anywhere in the world.
In an impressive display of reach and capability, the British and American Paras flew into the Baltics directly from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in a fleet of US Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, before jumping into the drop zone (DZ) together with heavy equipment including vehicles and vital stores. This jump comes as part of Ex SABER STRIKE, a major US-led NATO training exercise spanning the Baltic states and involving around 18,000 troops from 19 member nations, designed to further develop allied interoperability and hone the participating soldiers’ understanding of one another’s tactics and operating procedures.
The preceding days saw the men of C Coy training and living alongside their American partners, doing several training jumps on US parachutes, and conducting dynamic live-firing packages on the ranges at Fort Bragg. Once on the ground, the paratroopers converged on a number of pre-designated rally points before moving off to accomplish their allotted tactical missions, negotiating challenging terrain weighed down with heavy loads of weaponry and equipment, and in some cases fighting their way onto multiple follow-on objectives.
Speaking moments after landing, Colonel Andrew Jackson, Deputy Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, described the exercise as ‘a clear and unmistakable show of airborne strength on a global scale’.
“There’s a reason why most of the world’s reference armies still maintain an airborne capability, because in strategic terms it’s not possible to get this many men and this much equipment anywhere on the globe so quickly by any other means.
This is a very public statement that the 82nd Airborne Division GRF (Global Response Force), with 16 Brigade as part of it, is able to project significant force at short notice.”
1 Fury’s Specialist Austin Hilden said he’d relished the opportunity to spend so much time with his British counterparts according to the MoD press release:
“We both go headstrong into a battle, we both love training and getting to shoot our weapons. They have a different Standard Operating Procedure from ours, so we get to see what they do in certain instances, and if, let’s say, we need them to flank to the side, we know what they’re going to do because we’ve trained with them enough.”