FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- More than 200 paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team earned their German jump wings, April 15-18, during a joint airborne operation here.
Operation Federal Eagle, held annually, brings American and German paratroopers together to train and to reinforce the partnership between the two nation's militaries.
Devil brigade paratroopers earned their foreign wings over the span of the operation by exiting German C-160 Transall airplanes under the direction of German jumpmasters.
Upon completion of the jumps over Normandy Drop Zone, German army Capt. Andreas Trenzinger presented his military's wings to paratroopers during a ceremony steeped in tradition.
"Comrades, soldiers do what their countries want them to do … they're trained and equipped to fulfill national purposes," he said to the assembled paratroopers. "But sometimes, like today, nations have to cooperate to pursue a transnational objective. For this reason soldiers of different countries have the grand opportunity to train together and to support each other.
"In the moment the red light turns to green, nationality is of no account [and] rank or position does not matter," Trenzinger continued. "And this is what binds us together and generates a privileged relationship."
Staff Sgt. Adam L. Rauls, a native of Festus, Mo., and a paratrooper with the brigade's 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was treated to a special tradition once the rest of the paratroopers had been pinned.
Rauls received silver German jump wings--representing his third award of the foreign badge--and was brought to the front of the formation for some good-natured ribbing from American and German paratroopers.
"Federal Eagle is a great thing--I'm glad we do it," Rauls said. "It's a great motivator for soldiers to get their foreign wings."
Spc. Richard J. Mulholand, a native of Franklin, Penn., and a paratrooper with the brigade's 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, agreed.
"I think it's awesome," he said. "The Germans were very friendly … and it was great to get a foreign badge. The ceremony was … very full of tradition."
A dual military couple assigned to the brigade's 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, Sgt. Venesha E. Curry and Sgt. Karl C. Curry, said it was an honor to earn their foreign wings, and that it was a privilege to earn the foreign badges together.