GRAFENWÖHR, Germany -- Airborne forces from 10 NATO nations will hone their abilities to conduct global crisis response operations during exercise Swift Response 16, May 27 - June 26, 2016.
More than 5,000 Soldiers and Airmen will take part in the U.S. Army -led exercise in Poland and Germany.
Swift Response is designed to enhance the readiness of the combat core of the U.S. Global Response Force -- currently the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team -- to conduct rapid, joint forcible-entry (JFE) operations alongside Allied high-readiness forces in Europe.
According to Army doctrine, JFE operations allow airborne forces to seize and hold lodgments that will enable the continuous landing of troops and material and provide maneuver space for follow-on operations.
The opening phase of the exercise will feature two, simultaneous, multi-national JFE operations in Poland. The first will be led by the U.S. Army's Europe-based 173rd Airborne Brigade near Swidwin in northern Poland. The second will include paratroopers from the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 82nd Airborne's 1st Brigade as they make a 10-hour, transatlantic flight -- including en-route refueling, mission planning and parachute rigging -- to the exercise area near Torun, Poland. Above Torun they will join approximately 1,000 paratroopers from the British 16 Air Assault Brigade and the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade to conduct a multi-national jump on to a designated drop zone.
In Torun, the multi-national task force will seize key terrain and secure a bridge crossing over the Vistula River to allow the U.S. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment to cross the river on their way to training maneuvers in the Baltics.
The second phase of the exercise will take place in Germany at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas. It will include an airborne JFE, followed by a field exercise in Hohenfels. The exercise will conclude with live-fire training in Grafenwoehr.
In addition to the U.S., Great Britain and Poland, Swift Response 16 will include forces from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Swift Response 16 is one of a series of exercises taking place this summer in eastern Europe that demonstrates U.S. and Allied capabilities and further supports assurance and deterrence measures in the region. The airborne jumps and seizure of key terrain and bridge-crossings will set the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force exercise Anakonda, as well as enabling the passage of the U.S. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment as they move through the region toward exercise Saber Strike in the Baltics.