VICENZA, Italy - Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted a battalion-size airfield seizure via three C-130 titled Exercise Rock Nemesis, at Rivolto Air Base, Codroipo, Italy, Dec. 4.

Rock Nemesis, focused on a battalion-sized element being able to conduct a rapid airborne infiltration of an objective and clear the surrounding area to gain control to key territory.

"This was the first major battalion level training event for our battalion in over six months," said Capt. Chris Salisbury, an assistant battalion operations officer. "We have all been recently deployed to three different countries and this exercise provided the battalion an opportunity to certify their tactical systems and to do a combined exercise here in Italy."

Joining the paratroopers from the 173rd, were U.S. airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and allies from the Italian air force, who simultaneously conduct technical runway clearance and controlled the airspace, allowing battalion planners the ability to coordinate this joint mission as they would during a real airfield seizure.

"Rock Nemesis served as a validation of our Army Contingency Response Force capabilities and demonstration of our ability to project force and strengthen our relationship with the Air Force and with our Italian allies," said Maj. Joshua Van Etten, the battalion operations officer. "With the successful result of this exercise, we have shown that we are highly prepared for whatever may come our way."

This was also the first airfield seizure under the new battalion leadership team.

"Rock Nemesis validates our ability to project forces throughout the U.S. European, African and Central Commands areas of operations," said Lt. Col. Michael F. Kloepper, the battalion commander. "The 173rd is uniquely able to alert and deploy forces without notice and this capability is built on a foundation of great squads and platoons, and enabled by our long term European partnerships and relationships.

In January, 2nd Battalion will take over the ACRF response mission from 1st Battalion.

"Exercises like this solidify our responsibility and dedication to our allies in this region," said Kloepper. "Across the board - we are ready to jump in and do what needs to be done."