Incredible photos from the US Army’s massive European airborne training operation

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An Italian paratrooper prepares for a static line jump in a US Air Force C-130J during exercise Swift Response 16.
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Staff Sgt. DeAndre Curtiss/US Air Force

Staging aircraft carriers offshore or using drones from far away can be great assets in modern warfare. However, sometimes it’s necessary to go back to the basics when responding to a global crisis.

Exercise Swift Response 16, a month-long operation led by US forces, was conducted to keep up with traditional and newer methods of combat. Over 5,000 troops from nations such as France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy took part in this massive airborne exercise to conduct a rapid-response, joint forcible-entry scenario. While working with their European allies, US forces also participated in notable scenarios, such as staging a base within 18 hours of notification.

Here are several pictures of the multinational airborne exercise:


US Army and Italian paratroopers board a US Air Force C-130J Hercules during exercise Swift Response 16, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

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Staff Sgt. DeAndre Curtiss/US Air Force

A C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, takes off for Germany within several hours’ worth of notice.

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Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford/US Air Force

British paratroopers conduct a static-line jump.

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Staff Sgt. DeAndre Curtiss/US Air Force

Dutch Army paratroopers jump into Bunker Drop Zone at Grafenwoehr, Germany.

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Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger/US Army

A US paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division lands with his parachute.

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Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach/US Army

A French soldier watches soldiers descend from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

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Spc. Lloyd Villanueva/US Army

US soldiers locate a target on a map.

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Spc. Lloyd Villanueva/US Army

Multinational soldiers move toward their target.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

Multinational soldiers cut through the foliage.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

Soldiers weren’t the only ones dropped from the sky. Here, a US soldier prepares to untie a vehicle that had landed in the drop zone.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

A US paratrooper radios higher command while conducting defensive operations.

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Spc. Gage Hull/US Army

A Polish soldier provides security while conducting defensive planning operations.

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Spc. Gage Hull/US Army

Airplanes weren’t the only machines dominating the skies. Here, a United Kingdom Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma conducts an aerial-reconnaissance training mission.

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Spc. Lloyd Villanueva/US Army

A British Parachute Regiment soldier prepares to load a helicopter while conducting a simulated medical evacuation.

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Sgt. Seth Plagenza/US Army

In any real-life war scenario, bridges will be critical to both defensive and offensive forces. Here, military tactical vehicles prepare to engage their targets.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

A Polish soldier reloads his weapon while securing a bridge.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

Bridges will be fought for, from above and below.

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Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/US Army

A British soldier provides security while conducting medical-evacuation simulations.

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Spc. Nathaniel Nichols/US Army

The US wasn’t the only country that brought out their toys. Here, German Bundeswehr soldiers provide security while conducting a mounted patrol.

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Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Allen/US Army

A French paratrooper aims his antitank weapon at an enemy tank.

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Sgt. Juan F. Jimenez/US Army

A US soldier from the legendary 82nd Airborne Division readies a 60 mm mortar system for a simulated-fire mission.

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Spc. Gage Hull/US Army

US soldiers of Chaos Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division prepare to move out with their Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicles.

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Spc. Gage Hull/US Army