BITBURG, Germany — Over the horizon in an opening between the clouds of a misty blue sky over an old U.S. Air Force airfield appeared several C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters on a mission to rain Soldiers from the sky.
The parachutists from the U.S. and seven other countries, along with support personnel drawn from all participating services, assembled July 25 to 29 for International Jump Week, an annual event conducted to build partnerships through airborne operations.
More than 150 American, British, German, French, Israeli, Dutch, Kosovan and Czech paratroopers participated in the five-day airborne exercise.
“This was my first time being in a helicopter, and it was amazing,” said Maj. Isaac Perez, Airborne Israel Defense Force deputy commander. “We gained knowledge from being exposed to how other nations perform their airborne procedures. I look forward to coming back next time. The week has been unforgettable for us.”
The operation, coordinated by the 435th Contingency Response Group with support from 16th Sustainment Brigade’s 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company, aims to foster relationships with allied and partner nations.
The quartermaster company assisted with jumpmaster duties, contributed jump participants and conducted rigger checks.
“Soldiers gain memorable experiences with multiple cultures during events like this that provide invaluable knowledge,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ian Dimmick, 5th QM TADC air operations NCO in charge. “This is an annual event that I can say was a privilege to be a part of. Participants developed bonds and friendships.”
The jumpers offered highly positive feedback about their weeklong experience.
“To bring different nations together to perform airborne operations has been a phenomenal experience,” said Staff Sgt. Ritchie Brown, 435th Security Forces Squadron contingency response team leader.