NEW LONDON, NC (Sgt. Leticia Samuels) – The humming of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft could be heard over the Stanly Airport in New London, N.C., releasing North Carolina National Guard soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
A chilly temperature of 40 degrees seems a bit brisk for most, but not for these “Quiet Professionals.”
The Soldiers conducted an airborne jump as a way to qualify and maintain their jump proficiency with their State Partnership Program (SPP) counterparts from the Moldovan Special Forces and to train on the use of the MC-4 parachute; used mostly by the U.S. Marines.
“We jump out of smaller planes in our country but the qualifications are the same,” said Ion Ojog, Moldovan Special Forces Jumpmaster. “We are very excited about jumping today.”
Every three months B Company must jump in order to maintain their proficiency. This jump also helped to foster strong SPP relationships with their brothers in the Moldovan SF as well.
“As an additional benefit it gives the soldiers confidence in the equipment and for most of them they find it very fun, and for those that maybe new to it, it builds more excitement and confidence as they do it successfully,” said Maj. John Larch III, B Company commander.
During their qualifications soldiers executed a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jump performed from 10,000 feet.
The airborne maneuver requires a parachutist to jump anywhere from 10,000 to 35,000 feet, “free falling” in the sky before opening their parachute and then steering themselves safely to the ground.
Two of the four soldiers who conducted the HALO jump where Moldovan Special Forces Jumpmasters that have trained with Special Forces battalions here in North Carolina. The Moldovan Soldiers completed their parachute qualification training here in the U.S.
One of the primary missions of the U.S. Army Special Forces is to train and organize foreign armies or native forces in other countries. Other Special Forces duties include unconventional warfare, combat search and hostage rescue, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations or security assistance.
“At the heart of Special Forces, we teach and train foreign soldiers how to fight and conduct military operations. We do that through amercing ourselves in their culture, spending time with them, learning their language, and going to their countries and conducting classes with them,” said Larch.
This cross-culture sharing of ideas is a main objective of the SPP in the U.S. This program fosters collaborative relationships between soldiers, dignitaries, educators, business leaders and many more disciplines to form diplomatic ties with other democratic nations.
“SPP has similar goals to what SF does to build relationships and rapport with foreign soldiers. Our participation in that program fits perfectly with what are expected to do in the world as SF” said Larch.
This engagement offered B Company a great opportunity to train with their partners from Moldova and become more familiar with their customs and culture.
“This week having the Moldovans here is wonderful because they get to participate with us” said Larch.