Paratroopers Reinforce Bonds During IJW2016

STUTTGART, Germany (SSG Larraine Whetstone) – Special Operations Command Europe hosted the 2nd Annual International Jump Week, here, July 25-29.

Sixty-seven foreign jumpers from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, and the United Kingdom joined forces with U.S. military members to perform high-altitude, low-opening and static line jumps from MC-130J aircraft from 352nd Special Operations Wing and CH-47 Chinook helicopters from 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment on Malmsheim drop zone.

More than 500 jumps were conducted by the paratroopers during the week.

International jump week is an opportunity for airborne service members from NATO and partner nations to conduct joint operation training and ready our joint crisis response capabilities, stated Maj. Benjamin Terwillinger, special operations headquarters commandant, Special Operations Command Europe.

Seven of the nine countries provided jump-masters certified on U.S. aircraft and parachute systems, allowing them to do exchange jumps, said Terwillinger.

“This event allows the paratroopers to trade tactics, techniques and procedures as well as build partnerships between multiple forces,” stated Terwillinger.

Several paratroopers from the U.S. and foreign nations participating in international jump week expressed their excitement jumping with other nations, and learning how their partners perform airborne operations.

“The best part of this jump week is the camaraderie between the American Army and us,” said the Belgium instructor of the training center for commandos.

Everyone helping each other with jump preparations builds relationship, stated the Belgium commando.

An Irish jump master who participated in SOCUER’s first international jump week last year, stated this year’s international jump week was bigger with more nations participating and he is definitely looking forward to returning next year.

“It was an honor to give out as many jump wings to the U.S. Army and other foreign nations,” stated the Irish jump master.

International jump week ended with a joint barbecue and an exchange of the coveted “jump wings” among the partner nations. Each paratrooper who jumped under a foreign jump master was awarded that nation’s wings.

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