Paratroopers drop in Baltics for Swift Response exercise
WASHINGTON ― Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army crossed the Atlantic Ocean to participate in the Swift Response 18 exercise to demonstrate the unit’s readiness and global response capability.
The unit took off on a 7,000-kilometer, nonstop flight from its home base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Lithuania and Latvia on June 8.
During the flight, a C-17 Globemaster aircraft completed one aerial fueling, before members of the 82nd and British Army paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Regiment Parachute Battalion descended on the drop zones in Rukla, Lithuania, and Ādaži, Latvia.
Airborne forces from nine nations participated in the exercise, including Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“By working with our NATO allies and partner nations, we are able to maintain and strengthen our interoperability,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Pence, the commander in charge of the jump near Rukla. “Every time we do an exercises like this and work with the Lithuanians, the Polish or Latvians, we are able to test our communication systems, our signals, and also our battle tactics, techniques and procedures.”
After reaching the ground, the soldiers simulated securing an airfield, with Lithuanian soldiers playing the opposition force.
“This is the whole purpose of our training: to show our allies our readiness and show our command we are ready to go anytime, anywhere,” said Pvt. Daniel Guevara, a paratrooper assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.