More on Exercise Swift Response 15.

Our man on the scene sent some pics and words.

The US Army is conducting the largest multinational airborne exercise in recent history, Exercise Swift Response 15, in which a multinational Task Force formed and led by the First  (Devil) Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division is conducting a Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) into the notional country of Atropia at the Hohenfels Training Area’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center.  The Task Force includes airborne infantry battalions from the United States (Task Force Geronimo), Italy (Task Force Folgare) and Germany (Task Force Cerberus) and attached platoons and companies from Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and Poland.  The jump today by portions of TF Devil was preceded by elements of Task Force Bayonet, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the remainder of TF Devil jumping into Romania and Bulgaria.  Elements of Task Force Ranger have used the previous nights to destroy simulated air defense threats to open a corridor to allow the JFE to occur within a permissive environment.  For the next several days, TF Devil will fight Violent Atropian Separatists (disloyal members of the armed forces of the friendly nation of Atropia) as well as elements of the Shahid Brigade, which is a transnational terrorist organization.  In the course of their mission, they will be also be tasked to conduct two Noncombat Evacuation Operations (NEO) in conjunction with the state department.

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Pretty complex. The Army sees a future war where they’re simultaneously fighting organized military elements, and insurgent terrorist organizations. They have to both conduct maneuver warfare, and provide stability in wide areas. To say  that it requires a good deal of mental agility to be able to conduct both is and understatement. To do both simultaneously is a great challenge.

Let’s add to that the fact that airborne operations bear inherent risk. Of about 900 troops dropped yesterday, thirty-seven were injured. Most injuries were of a very minor nature, with the troops expected to return to duty within a day or two. Interestingly, about 2/3 of the injuries were to our allied airborne partners. Why the smaller allied units had more injuries, we don’t know.

What we do know is, that’s very much in line with the historical norm for injuries in airborne operations. Kind of makes me glad I was a leg.

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2 thoughts on “More on Exercise Swift Response 15.”

  1. Their parachutes have a smaller nominal diameter and different design which leads to a strong tendancy of oscillations under canopy. Their rate of descent is in the 26+ feet per second range while ours are in the 16+ fps range. Our pre-jump training although repetitive is very effective in reducing operations injury. Then there’s actually hitting the DZ but that is for another time.

  2. I don’t jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Any airplane making power and capable of straight and level controlled flight is a perfectly good airplane.

    Years ago I read Anthony Herbert’s “Soldier” where he tells a couple stories from his time on jump school cadre. One class they were down to one kid that just wouldn’t go out the door. Herbert told the kid that he could do it and that he was no different than the others. To which the kid retorts, “The hell I ain’t! They jumped, and I’m not going too.”

    Hard to blame the guy when you get up 800′ and look down the first time.

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