By 1st Lt. Christian WardynskiSeptember 8, 2016
Caserma Del Din, ITALY - German infantrymen from the 5./Fallschirmjägerregiment 26 Infantry Company (5./FschJgRgt 26) and engineers from the Luftlandepionierkompanie 260 (LLPiKp 260) trained with Bravo Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade for five days culminating in a combined airborne operation and wing exchange, here from 22 -- 26 August, 2016.
Bravo Company extended the invitation to the 5./FschJgRgt 26 and LLPiKp 260 as a way to thank them for hosting the U.S. engineers this past July during international jump week. Before the two units executed an airborne operation in Italy, they planned and executed training that would enhance their clearance and assessment capabilities and allow them to cross train on each other's equipment.
"We participated with [Bravo Company] in a jump day and it was pretty nice to see how they train over here and to be able to compare it to our procedures and to learn from each other and to see all the similarities and all the small differences," said Maj. Bertram, Company Commander of the LLPiKp 260 Airborne Engineer Company.
Throughout the week, the German and U.S. team rehearsed explosive hazard disposal and wire obstacle reduction alongside route clearance tactics and technique development. The U.S. Engineers were exposed to German infantry procedures during a field landing strip(FLS) clearance simulation.
After sharing their unit specific techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs), Bravo Company sappers and elements from the German engineers validated their joint tactics for FLS assessment and clearance, removing wire obstacles and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as foreign debris that would inhibit the use of the FLS for follow-on air lands during the Airborne Operation on 26 August.
On the day of the jump, the paratroopers exited C-130J aircraft from Aviano Air Base in Pordneone, Italy. After a wing exchange ceremony, the integrated paratroopers went on to conduct follow on operations, including clearing a section of the drop zone to serve as an FLS as they had practiced.
"The recent Airborne operation and follow on missions with our German counterparts offered us the valuable opportunity to share TTPs for engineer operations and to develop relationships for future training together," said 1LT Sarah Melville, Bravo Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Airborne).
In an effort to continue the invaluable relationship developed between the 54th Engineer Battalion and German 5th Infantry Company, they will work together again in September 2016 in Caylus, France for Exercise Colibri 2016.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army Contingency Force in Europe providing ready forces anywhere in the U.S., European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of responsibility within 18 hours.