December 8, 2016 –
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – In preparation for Operation Toy Drop XIX, an annual collective training exercise used to prepare our Soldiers to support the Global Combatant Commanders and Army Service Component Commanders in theaters of operation around the world, US jumpmasters join in training along with jumpmasters from eight partner nations, totaling over 4,000 paratroopers, who will all be taking part in the communal operation. The operation and training conducted by the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), an Army Reserve unit out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The jumpmaster training allows US paratroopers to have the chance to train with jumpmasters from other nations, learn about their training tactics, and earn foreign parachute badges, a significant achievement among the paratrooper community representing the completion of an airborne operation with a foreign nation airborne force. “It strengthens the bonds with our partner nations that we can use to not only participate in airborne training but other areas as well,” said Staff Sgt. Josue Toledano, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion.
Every Soldier and foreign ally at the training drills through the procedures with enthusiasm, eager to learn new techniques and safety measures from partner nations to build upon their own knowledge and interact with other paratroopers. “We do have a phenomenal airborne program but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from other countries,” said Toledano, “our jumpmaster [from Botswana] is very knowledgeable and has already been able to teach us a lot of techniques and we’re able to learn a lot.”
As Operation Toy Drop XIX gets underway, the participants cannot hide their excitement and eagerness to jump with the other paratroopers. Sgt. Daniel Jenkins, from the Advanced Warfare Center in Trenton, Ontario, is joining in for his second Operation Toy Drop and was happy to be invited again. “I was here in 2010 and finally got the opportunity to come back and have some more fun. Any time you get a chance to come and train with other nations and forces its always a good time, and its always interesting to see other people and train with them.”