After months of planning, Operation Toy Drop XIX has begun. This multi-national training exercise provides U.S. and foreign jumpmasters from across the world with the opportunity to participate in collective training and airborne operations while integrating all Army and Air Force components to conduct mission command and airborne activities. Soldiers from the Airborne Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD), took the opportunity Monday, Dec. 5., to instruct soldiers from eight allied countries on how to operate the MC6, a steerable canopy used by the U.S. Army.
Staff Sgt. Henry Pinckney, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the MC6 training, briefed and instructed soldiers how to properly don and operate the MC6 main parachute and the T11 reserve parachute in preparation for the mission.
"I gave a class on the proper wear and fitting of the MC6 parachute and the T11 reserve," said Pinckney, a native of North Charleston, SC. "We ran through the basics of the sizes and fittings of the harness."
After the briefing, soldiers received hands-on time with the equipment, and were able to try on and receive specific guidance on the do's and don't of the proper usage of the equipment.
Operation Toy Drop's mission allows United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) Soldiers to stay trained, ready and relevant after 15 years at war, says Pinckney. It also provides an opportunity to continue training with allied and partner nations so they may remain ready.
"There are not many people that do what we do, it's a brotherhood that crosses the oceans. When you know someone else is a paratrooper there is special bond regardless of nationality," said MSG James Roscoe with the Alpha Company, 5th Military Information Support Battalion. Through Operation Toy Drop, United States paratroopers have the chance to train with jumpmasters from other nations, learn about their training tactics, and participate in Airborne operations with a foreign jumpmaster.
All jumpmasters, American and foreign spend hours in aircraft and parachute familiarization classes so they are clear on all tactics and procedures for a safe operation. Roscoe, a Sacramento, Calif., native feels that Operation Toy Drop is important because every country's military has different techniques and tactics that they can each learn from.
This annual collective training exercise is used to prepare soldiers to support the Global Combatant Commanders and Army Service Component Commanders in theaters of operation around the world while providing selfless service to families in need.
With an estimate of over 6,000 toys donated for children in need throughout the region during the 2015 Operation Toy Drop. "Toy Drop continues to provide for the community and we would like to see it continue to grow," said Pinckney.