More than 2,100 American and British paratroopers will jump into Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday for the start of a massive exercise that marks the next step forward in a unique relationship between the two nations’ airborne units.
The Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise is the largest U.S.-U.K. bilateral airborne training operation to take place on Fort Bragg in the last 20 years. It will feature paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team and about 900 paratroopers from the United Kingdom’s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, 16 Air Assault Brigade.
The soldiers will jump from American C-17s and C-130s and Royal Air Force aircraft onto Fort Bragg before moving to seize an airfield, evacuate non-combatants and execute offensive and defensive operations.
“We’re very excited about everything that’s happening here with 3 Para in particular,” said Col. Joe Ryan, commander of 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne, which currently has the Global Response Force mission.
This means the unit is ready to deploy, if needed, to any contingency within 18 hours.
“Certainly, the greatest lesson learned is the appreciation that future battlefields are going to be multinational and combined in nature,” he said. “Interoperability is not a nice-to-do, it’s a must-do.”
Full article: British invasion: Huge paratrooper jump today over Bragg (Army Times)