The U.S., along with seven other allied nations, united for International Jump Week 2016 July 24 through 28 at several different military installations in Germany.
Paratroopers from Germany, France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Kosovo, the Czech Republic, Israel and the U.S. performed high-altitude, low-opening and static-line jumps out of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 37th Airlift Squadron and U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
“We do this every year in the summer with our partner nations,” said Capt. Danielle Dowds, 435th Contingency Response Group logistics officer, who participated in the jumps. “The events have been wonderful. It’s just a fantastic opportunity to get together with our partner nations, share our experiences and share our love for being airborne.”
The weeklong event began on Rhine Ordnance Barracks with a welcome from Col. Patrick Daly, 435 CRG commander. For the next four days, the coalition gathered on Ramstein in the morning to don their gear and board the aircraft. Afterwards, they flew to Bitburg Airfield where the jumps were conducted.
Hosted by the 435 CRG, International Jump Week builds camaraderie between U.S. troops and their allies. It also gives them the opportunity to exchange methods pertinent to airborne operations.
“Our jumpmasters link up with theirs, and we all have tactics, techniques and procedures that we learn from each other,” Dowds said. “It’s truly an honor to share this capability together and to learn from each other.
“This is a huge (partnership-building) event for the 435 CRG … (and) camaraderie is at the heart of all of it,” Dowds continued.
Cpl. Ian Chapman, British army reservist, was also happy to work with the allies of his country.
Chapman said he attended International Jump Week last year but was not able to jump every day due to inclement weather. He voiced his enthusiasm about being able to go on every jump this year.
“I had a fantastic time,” Chapman said. “Everybody’s gotten on like a house on fire. It’s been really good vibes all week. The guys have been great, and the organization’s been great. (They’re) blessed and wonderful people.
“It’s worth the effort (of traveling to Germany). It really is,” Chapman continued.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Deans, 37 AS chief of scheduling, was pleased with the performance of the troops during the week.
“International Jump Week so far has been a great success,” said Deans, who served as the 37 AS mission commander for the C-130Js involved in the event. “This is one of the great opportunities of being stationed at Ramstein — being able to work with our NATO and European partners to build partnership capacities all over Europe so in the future we can work well together.”
Deans said International Jump Week will help make airborne operations much smoother now that the U.S. and its allies are more familiar with each other’s ways of operating.
The multinational event helped open the door for U.S. troops to better understand their foreign counterparts and incorporate some of the allies’ techniques into their own operations.