Partner nations join U.S. paratroopers for International Jump Week
By Staff Sgt. Warren Wright, 21st TSC Public AffairsDecember 19, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (Dec. 19, 2013) -- More than 300 U.S., German, French, Spanish, Estonian and Dutch paratroopers participated in four days of airborne operations during the annual International Jump Week over the Alzey Drop Zone here, Dec. 16-19.
The operation was coordinated by the 5th Quartermaster Detachment (Airborne), 21st Theater Sustainment Command, and is designed to build on relationships and enhance interoperability between the U.S. and partner nations.
Operating with partner nations is important because future operations are becoming more and more unified, said Capt. Toby Holland, the commander of 5th QM.
"We need to be able to perform those partnerships with foreign militaries," Holland said.
The first day of the operation incorporated a bit of holiday fun, with Santa and a bundle of toys being dropped over the drop zone as a part of Operation Toy Drop.
Each paratrooper jumping that day had to provide one toy to donate in order to be allowed onto the aircraft. The toys were then bundled up, dropped from the aircraft and donated to U.S. Army Garrison Rhienland-Pfalz's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program to be distributed to underprivileged children throughout the area.
"It's a good feeling knowing that we can help give back to the local community, not only the military community, but the German community as well," said 1st Sgt. Michael Warren, the 5th QM's senior enlisted advisor.
"This really shows the heart of the paratrooper and the heart of the military member," said Air Force Master Sgt. Franklin Barnett, the chief of contingency operations for the 435th Contingency Response Group. "We are obviously here to defend our nation's freedom, but in addition we are also members of the community, and I think this is a great opportunity for us to be able to come out and help those that may be a little less fortunate than us."
Paratroopers participating in International Jump Week expressed their excitement of jumping with other nations, all the while learning how their partners perform airborne operations.
"It's been a great opportunity," said Barnett. "We've been working with a lot of these countries multiple times so we start to see some familiar faces as we continue to do these operations. It just gets better and better. Not only do they come to us but we have the opportunity to go to them as well."
International Jump Week ended Dec. 19, with a joint barbecue and an exchange of coveted "jump wings" among the partner nations. Each paratrooper who jumped under a foreign jump master was awarded that nation's wings.