December 8, 2016 –
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Jumpmasters from throughout the United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) have come together to train jumpmasters from eight countries here for the 19th Annual Operation Toy Drop.
Operation Toy Drop is an annual exercise that allows USACAPOC Soldiers to stay trained and ready for airborne operations. During the 2016 exercise, military members from eight allied countries have joined together and will be jumping with the American Soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher L. Gauger, a civil affairs team sergeant with the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), United States Army Reserve, said “I think Operation Toy Drop is an important event and is a unique opportunity for the American Army to train and maintain their jump abilities.”
Before the live jumps begin later this week, it is important for everyone involved to be trained to the highest standard for the operation to be carried out safely.
“Jumpmasters are paramount when it comes to safety, training, and execution of an airborne operation,” said Staff Sgt. Javier L. Rivera, unit supply sergeant with the Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Military Information Support Battalion, United States Army Reserve. “When it comes to our job, doing everything possible to help things run smoothly makes training more effective, which, in turn, helps us become better prepared for real-world situations.”
To Gauger, jumpmaster training is about ensuring the absolute safety of every jumper going into and out of airborne operations.
“It’s about keeping sharp, being alert, and staying efficient,” the Columbus, Ohio, resident said.
Not only is the jumpmaster training teaching everyone involved how to be more vigilant in the skies above Fort Bragg when the live jumps begin, it is giving the participants an opportunity to work with the militaries of allied countries from around the world.
“It’s good to work with our foreign partners so we understand the cultural aspects as well as being able to see how they operate within their units,” Gauger said, “and it’s great to work with our allies in an event that isn’t brought together from an emergency.”
Rivera, a Kissimmee, Fla, resident, said he has enjoyed being able to talk to the jumpmasters from the visiting countries and share stories and experiences with them.
“The experience is invaluable,” he said, “It’s an interesting experience being able to watch the foreign teams accomplish their mission. I think I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me.”
“It has been great so far,” Rivera continued. “I’m looking forward to this event kicking off. I feel lucky to be a part of it and am looking forward to being able to do it again in the future.”