• Airborne Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The airborne exercise was the first airborne jump in Kosovo in over a decade.

    Check the lines and the chute!

    Airborne Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The airborne exercise was the first airborne jump in Kosovo in over...

  • Paratroopers with 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, sit on the edge of an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, waiting for the aircraft to arrive above the drop zone during an airborne exercise at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014.

    Knees in the Breeze

    Paratroopers with 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, sit on the edge of an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, waiting for the aircraft to arrive above the drop zone during an airborne exercise at Camp Bondsteel...

  • Walking to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, are ready to make the first airborne jump in Kosovo since 2004, on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The jump was a way for the Soldiers to maintain proficiency in airborne exercises.

    Boarding their ride

    Walking to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, are ready to make the first airborne jump in Kosovo since 2004, on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The jump...

  • Staff Sgt. Daniel Cisneros, a paratrooper with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and a native of Round Rock, Texas, has his geared checked by Pvt. Shawn Thomas, a rigger with the 2-38th, 504th BFSB, and a native of Hampton Roads, Va., before making a airborne jump at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014.

    Tightening those straps

    Staff Sgt. Daniel Cisneros, a paratrooper with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and a native of Round Rock, Texas, has his geared checked by Pvt. Shawn Thomas, a rigger with the 2-38th, 504th BFSB, and a...

  • Floating through the air and silhouetted against a mountain backdrop, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, make the first airborne jump in Kosovo in over a decade at Camp Bondsteel, April 15, 2014.

    Parachutes on the horizon

    Floating through the air and silhouetted against a mountain backdrop, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, make the first airborne jump in Kosovo in over a decade at Camp Bondsteel, April 15...

  • After a successful static line airborne jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk, Staff Sgt. Daniel Cisneros, a paratrooper with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and a native of Round Rock, Texas, gathers his parachute at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. This is the first airborne jump that has happened in Kosovo in a decade.

    Gathering his lines

    After a successful static line airborne jump from a UH-60 Black Hawk, Staff Sgt. Daniel Cisneros, a paratrooper with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and a native of Round Rock, Texas, gathers his parachute at...

  • Making the first airborne jump in Kosovo for over a decade, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, land at a drop zone on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The troops conducted several "lifts" so all Soldiers could maintain proficiencies in airborne exercises.

    Making the landing at Camp Bondsteel

    Making the first airborne jump in Kosovo for over a decade, paratroopers with 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, land at a drop zone on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 15, 2014. The troops conducted several...

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo (April 15, 2014) -- Ending what has been over a decade-long absence, Multinational Battle Group-East paratroopers took to the skies in Kosovo, April 15.

Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, conducted airborne jumps to maintain jumper proficiency, said Lt. Col. John Cogbill, commander of 2-38 Cavalry Squadron and MNBG-E's Forward Command Post.

"Conducting airborne operations is an inherently high-risk mission," said Cogbill, a native of Richmond, Va. "It's one of those things where practice makes perfect and the more repetitions we can get, the better we become."

The exercise started at daybreak, when Soldiers checked their gear, tightened straps and prepared themselves before conducting multiple jumps via static line out of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter into the brisk morning air at Camp Bondsteel.

The paratroopers enjoyed the chance to stay proficient in their airborne skills while being deployed. Cogbill was one of the first paratroopers putting his knees in the breeze at the drop zone, and he said it was a very successful jump for him and his troops.

"We threw a couple streamers out to make sure we had the spot right and then we went for it," said Cogbill. "We hit the drop zone and walked away from it, so we are happy."

Also attending the airborne exercise was Muharrem Svarqa, the mayor of Ferizaj, the closest major city to Camp Bondsteel. He said watching the jump was a great experience for him.

"It's very exciting for us to see these kind of events that we don't usually get a chance to see," said Svarqa. "I'm very thankful that we were invited to attend the event where the U.S. Soldiers demonstrated their military skills and abilities."

First Sgt. William Hutson, senior enlisted adviser for Company C, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, was on the drop zone and watched his troops make the jumps. He was glad to see his troops learning and training.

"We just took this opportunity to bring our jumpmasters down here, set up the drop zone and survey it," said Hutson, a native of Pearland, Texas. "We ran through some rehearsals and got everyone on par as far as what everyone needs to know and came out here to execute the jump."

The troopers weren't the only ones who received training for the day. Aviation crews from the battle group's Southern Command Post got in on the action as well.

"We are always looking for opportunities to train," said Lt. Col. George Barton, Southern Command Post commander, and a native of West Jordan, Utah. "When the Forward Command Post suggested that we start doing paratrooper drops, we were excited to do it because it's a common mission for us to do as Black Hawk pilots."

Although the unit conducts intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations according to U.S. Army doctrine in support of III Corps, it's important to keep the parachuting skills sharp, even though this is a peacekeeping mission, added Cogbill.

At least once a month the cavalry unit plans on conducting airborne exercises in Kosovo to maintain their airborne status.

Page last updated Fri April 18th, 2014 at 00:00