CAMP ADAZI, Latvia -- Packed parachutes lay idle on the warehouse floor as Paratroopers began filing in. The building quickly became abuzz with the sound of Paratroopers conducting their final checks and gearing up for the mission ahead.
Paratroopers assigned to Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, conducted an airborne insertion at Adazi Training Area, Latvia, Jan. 11, 2017.
Nearly 80 Paratroopers boarded C-130 Hercules aircraft, operated by the U.S. Air Force at Riga International Airport, in route to the drop zone at Adazi Training Area.
"It's an opportunity for us to refresh and refine our ability to conduct combat airborne operations," said 1st Lt. Gabriel Lloyd, platoon leader, C Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, on a training rotation in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
In stark contrast to the fair weather conditions during their initial insertion into Latvia back in September, Chosen Company faced low temperatures and challenging wind speeds during this jump.
"It shows that we are completely dedicated to our mission," said 2nd Lt. Cody Dewald, platoon leader, C Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. "It doesn't matter what the weather is or how long we've been here, we are still going to accomplish what we came here to do and support our allies."
For a few of the Paratroopers, including Staff Sgt. Neil Fullerton, squad leader, C Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., this was their first jump into frozen, snow-covered terrain.
Fullerton led his squad through a number of equipment checks and followed up with each of his Paratroopers to make sure everyone was fully equipped with adequate cold weather gear to safely execute the operation.
"Anytime we have a jump like this, it really falls on the Paratroopers and the team leaders to make sure everyone takes the proper steps to prevent any cold weather injuries," Lloyd said. "Our goal is to be as effective, if not more effective, in these conditions, than we are in temperate weather."
Chosen Company will put their versatility to the test as they prepare to complete a winter warfare course alongside the Latvian Land Forces at the end of January.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.