FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- After the demise of the best Airborne plan, a most terrifying effect occurs on the battlefield. This effect is known as the rule of the LGOPs or Little Group of Paratroopers.

Twenty-five teams of Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division competed to determine who was the most proficient in the Paratrooper Essential Task List though a series of assessments at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 23. The event saw the paratroopers tested on rigging their equipment, actions in the aircraft, rendering their equipment for service, establishing communication and a layout of required gear.

"(The competition) consisted of nine-man teams jumping from a CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade and performing our duties as Paratroopers in the shortest amount of time safely," said Sgt. Daniel Fienco, battalion air noncommissioned officer, 307th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
The competition was for time and pitted each battalion against one another.

"The hardest part was trying to make sure we made time while rigging our equipment for the operation," said Fienco. "This is what we train for constantly. Now we get to test ourselves against the other battalions in the division."

The event showcased the teamwork that is seen all across the Division. Even though the Paratroopers were graded individually, they had to operate as a team to accomplish all required tasks.

"I look at it as it makes us a stronger team," said Fienco. "Competing like this helps bring us closer together as a unit. I got to lead from the front of my team."

The competition began early in the morning with equipment draw and briefs.

"We showed up at 4:30 a.m. to gain accountability and secure our gear," said Fienco. "We then went to Green Ramp for a brief that included standards for success. Immediately following that, we were given 15 minutes to rig our ruck or face a penalty."

For Fienco, being a Paratrooper carries a special meaning.

"I earned the title of Paratrooper," said Fienco. "On a previous jump, I sustained a serious injury and it took me a long time to get back to where I can jump again. I jumped today in my seventh and final All American Week. I am going to miss it. This has been home to me for the last nine years."

For infantryman Spc. Tristan Nuziard with 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, the event helped carry on a family legacy.

"On my dad's side dating back three generations, they have all been involved in All American Weeks," said Nuziard. "It fills my heart with joy to be able to continue this family tradition. I hope my son gets to experience the tradition."

Even though the event carried on a family tradition, the paratroopers enjoyed the event and fostered stronger teams through the Division.

"We operated in small teams justifying the name LGOP," said Fienco. "It showcases the skills that the 82nd Abn. Div. is known for. This competition helps all the units involved to become better Paratroopers."

The winning team will be announced later this week.