June 7, 2016 –
Paratroopers assigned to U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division traveled 4,600 miles from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Torun, Poland, for a jump 1,000 feet in the sky that lasted less than 22 seconds in a meticulously orchestrated airborne drop during the second day of Exercise Anakonda 2016.
“This is the largest exercise in Poland in many decades,” said Gen. Mark A. Milley, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. “The overall concept of operation for Anakonda and for NATO is defensive in nature. These exercises emphasize tactical and operational tasks soldiers would be required to do if this were real. The scenario itself is completely made up and is all about increasing the defensive capabilities of the NATO alliance.”
The 82nd Airborne was alerted at approximately 8 a.m. Monday and spent the following 10 hours loading a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in preparation for a 10 hour flight to Torun, Poland. In flight, paratroopers rigged equipment, donned parachutes and conducted mission planning.
The 82nd Airborne dropped 530 paratroopers in Poland 25 hours after notification of the mission, according to Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, the primary spokesperson for the division.
“This shows the capability of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is the land component of the Global Response Force,” said Buccino. The global response mission requires the division to deploy an element within 18 hours after notification.
“Speed and mobility matters,” continued Buccino. “Anytime we can exercise loading our equipment onto aircraft, moving over the Atlantic and planning the mission, we become faster, more mobile, more aggressive and more agile.”
Buccino stressed the importance of interoperability with multi-national partners by explaining how facing challenges during an exercise mitigate real world crises.
“Whether it is here in Europe, the Middle East or a humanitarian crisis elsewhere, we respond alongside our partners and allies,” said Buccino. “We’ve got to work through the challenges of interoperability during these exercises.”
A combined airborne task force may face equipment, communication and language challenges, and this exercise provides an opportunity to work through those difficulties.
Exercise Anakonda 2016, a Polish-led, multinational exercise running from June 7-17, involves approximately 25,000 participants from more than 20 nations and is a premier training event for U.S. Army Europe.