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NEWS | Dec. 12, 2016

Soldiers give back to the community while earning foreign jump wings during Operation Toy Drop XIX

By Sgt. Christina Dion 319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Ammerman, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) commanding general joined his paratroopers on a jump led by partner nations Dec. 10 at Luzon drop zone during Operation Toy Drop XIX.  

Along with more than 4,000 paratroopers who participated in Operation Toy Drop XIX, Ammerman jumped with foreign jumpmasters.

“We have to jump anyway to maintain proficiency and it helps us work with our partner nations,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Ammerman, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) commanding general.  “Today it’s Singapore, but there are eight other nations participating. So, it’s a great collective training opportunity.”

Operation Toy Drop is first and foremost the largest collective airborne operation training event coordinated by USACAPOC(A) and the U.S. Army Reserve. But for some Soldiers, it’s also about the added benefit of earning foreign jump wings while also giving back to their community.  

“If you talk to Willy (Wellbrock) who knew Randy Oler and set this up in his name, it’s all about the kids,” said 1st Sgt. Benjamin Smith, a jumpmaster and company first sergeant with B Co., 5th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group. “Every year whether I jump or not, I bring a toy and send it with one of my Soldiers. They are for the kids.”

“We want to do something for the kids. Everyone is doing great things today,” said Spc. Yosdan Rodriquez, a paratrooper with 2nd BCT, 2-508th Airborne Infantry and a lottery jumper who stood in line in freezing temperatures for the opportunity to jump.

His reasons are two-fold, he said. Although he’s jumping Tuesday with his unit, he said this is a different experience because he gets to jump with the different partner nations that have come together to be part of one operation. He jumped under the leadership of a Singapore and American jumpmaster on a C-130.

“The Soldiers get the opportunity for a training jump and (potentially receive) a set of foreign jump wings. So it’s good for them, too,” Smith said. On a larger scale, Soldiers participated in a very large collective airborne training event that benefits the collective mission.

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