HOHENFELS, Germany -- Swift Response 16 hit its stride, June 15, as nearly 1,100 airborne soldiers from seven nations jumped into Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr Training Areas to initiate the second phase of this multinational, cross European exercise.
The task force of paratroopers came from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., the 6th Polish Airborne Brigade, and a joint Franco-British unit, the Airborne Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, conducting its first fully-operational exercise as a team.
The task force parachuted into the Hohenburg Drop Zone beginning at 11:00 a.m, with several jumps following throughout the afternoon. Today's jump closely followed an earlier jump on June 6 into Torun, Poland as part of Swift Response Phase 1.
As part of today's operation, a third task force of paratroopers from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands jumped into the Grafenwoehr Training Area. In total, 236 paratroopers from the task force jumped into the Bunker Drop Zone near simultaneously with the jumps into Hohenfels. These troops will reassemble over the next twenty-four hours, and move to Hohenfels to join the rest of the troops for the remainder of Swift Response.
The timing of the operations were an exercise in speed, and a demonstration of how quickly and effectively NATO forces can handle complex operations, said Col. Colin P. Tuley, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "It shows we can react, and that our leaders are adaptable," Tuley said. "It means our Soldiers can quickly move to different missions on a moment's notice."
Tuley explained that his brigade is the ground component of the Global Response Force, which is capable of intervening anywhere in the world within 18 hours. He stated that today's drop positively illustrated their ability to maintain this standard. "It is the bumper sticker of readiness."
He also sees this exercise as an opportunity to collectively reassure NATO Allies of their ability to defend the Alliance if necessary. "What this exercise really does is reassure our allies," Tuley said. "What better way--when you look into a sky of paratroopers from multiple nations, training together, fighting together, winning together? That alone just exemplifies what this is all about."
Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said that performing exercises such as today's airborne insertions brings complex challenges to light so that they can be resolved. "By doing this together, we're practicing how we can make sure we're understanding the complexities, and that we can overcome them when the time comes," Clarke said.
Exercise Swift Response 2016 is one of the premier military crisis response training events for multinational airborne forces in the world. The exercise includes more than 5,000 participants from 10 NATO nations and takes place at locations in Poland and Germany this month.