Coalition partners participate in friendship jump over Egypt for Bright Star 09
October 20, 2009
MUBARAK MILITARY CITY, EGYPT -- Egyptian, Kuwaiti, German, Pakistani and U.S. forces participated in a coalition friendship jump during Operation Bright Star 2009 recently.
Bright Star is a multinational exercise that is designed to improve readiness, interoperability and strengthen military and professional relationships among other nations.
The five different countries gathered in Cairo East to prepare for the jump. More than 300 airborne qualified personnel jumped out of a German C-160 and three C-17s for a total of four different jumps.
The friendship jump was the culmination of jump training which began at Fort Bragg, N.C. "We did two weeks of training at Fort Bragg ... and a variety of additional training that wasn't focused on the actual airborne operations," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Pat Hynes, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
Hynes stated that there are a lot of commonalities in how they jump however, the language barrier was the hardest thing they had to overcome which was the primary purpose of the basic airborne and jump master refresher course conducted at Fort Bragg.
This was the fourth airborne operation for Bright Star, two of which were conducted in the United States and two in Egypt. "The purpose was to foster a spirit of cooperation between the participants," said Hynes.
Many of the soldiers found the training new and exciting.
"Working with the Egyptians and Germans is a cool experience and I've never done it before, it was my first foreign jump in a foreign country," said U.S. Army Pfc. Iris Torres, Echo Company, 1-325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
"I think what makes it worth it is when you're on a door and you freeze for a moment, for half a second, I think about stuff like my family then I'm in the air and it's just an awesome feeling," she said.
Overall success of the mission was dependant on all the leaders of the units, especially the noncommissioned officers, said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Fourhman, Third Army/U.S. Central command sergeant major.
"The noncommissioned officer plays a role everywhere from the planning, to the execution and the recovery of all the soldiers. This exercise is being conducted on many levels from the command post exercise and then the practical exercises which consisted of the CALFEX and both the strategic jump and the friendship jump," he said.
"The noncommissioned officer is always the last one out of the door," Fourhman added.
After the jump was complete, all soldiers were accounted for and the countries involved presented their jump wings to each other in a show of friendship and partnership defining the purpose of Operation Bright Star.
Operation Bright Star will conclude with a computer-based command post exercise and planning will begin immediately for the next Bright Star training.