RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Five NATO countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States participated in airborne jump operations during International Jump Week Aug. 9-14.
Parachuting out of the back of a C-130 Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron here, more than 250 paratroopers guided their chutes toward a small bunker drop zone in southwestern Germany, including Airmen from the newly formed 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, 28 from the 435th Contingency Response Group and 11 from the 435th Air Special Operations Squadron.
This event marked the first time the 435th CRG hosted the jump, providing the opportunity for each of the nations' military members to take more away than just their foreign wings.
"This jump provided such a beautiful opportunity for us all to get together, get some training and jump from the same aircraft," said Sgt. Marco Solaroli, Italian Army reservist. "We have received great training from the jumpmasters here. It has been an honor to participate in this."
With the success of this year's Jump Week the 435th CRG has decided to make this a yearly event to build confidence and relations among the NATO allies.
"It's simply awesome just to meet new people, foreign jumpers and airborne members," said Airman 1st Class Jerome Williams, a member of the Tactical Air Control Party from the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron.
"It's been an interesting two days," said Col. Timothy Brown, 435th CRG commander and one of the airmen who participated in the jump. "Today many U.S. troopers jumped under the command of the German jumpmasters, and 30 were commanded by Italian jumpmasters. It's not just the interoperability between U.S. forces and other countries, but all the countries involved as well."