Posts tagged ‘airborne operations’

FRIDAY FOTO (On Saturday, December 11, 2021)

Impressionistic View.

(U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lieutenant Katie Tamesis)

Some of the best photos are taken out the back of a military helicopter.

Whatever the Air Force photographer did with her field of focus, it made the view of Fall foliage in Georgia look like the work of a French impressionist.

What we actually have here is a Marine Corps CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter crew member overlooking the Bemiss Drop Zone at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on November 16, 2021.

Airmen along with Georgia Army National Guard soldiers and Marine Corps helicopter crew members conducted airborne operations training to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures from across three branches of the military and to strengthen joint agile combat employment mission capabilities.

December 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 24, 2021)

Under Delft blue clouds.

(U.S. Army photo by Army Captain Nadine Wiley De Moura)

A soldier with the Texas National Guard descends to the first drop zone at Houtdorpeveld, in the Netherlands during  NATO’s largest airborne technical exercise on September 14, 2021. Exercise Falcon Leap , with more than 1,000 paratroopers from 12 different nations, led by the Royal Netherlands Army to highlight interoperability in observance of the 77th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden during World War II.

Market Garden was a massive Allied attempt to leapfrog the German Siegfried defense line with two sub-operations:

Market — an airborne assault by two American and one British airborne divisions, joined by a Polish airborne brigade to seize key bridges in the Netherlands — the last one crossing the Rhine River bordering Germany.

And Garden — a ground attack led by British armored forces, moving over the seized bridges to create a 64-mile salient into German territory with a bridgehead over the Rhine, creating an Allied invasion route into northern Germany.

For a number of reasons — including incomplete planning, bad intelligence about German forces, weather delays and insufficient aircraft to ferry an airborne Army of more than 40,000 troops — the operation failed in its ultimate objective: Punching a hole in German defenses and crossing the Rhine. More than 15,000 Allied troops were killed, wounded or captured. German casualties exceeded 6,000.

September 24, 2021 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 14, 2021)

Bright Lights, Big Airplane.

(Army photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Soldiers from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division and Britain’s 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, board a C-17 Globemaster III airlifter at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina on May 7, 2021.

The paratroopers were on their way to  Defender-Europe 21, a massive training exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the United States its NATO allies and partner militaries.

The exercise, which is taking place over vast stretch of Europe from the Netherlands to Greece, will integrate approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations to conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries.

For example, during the week of  May 9, the Virginia class submarine USS New Mexico, arrived in Tromso, Norway. Exercises will be on-going in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany and North Macedonia.

In addition to U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy units, 2,100 National Guard soldiers from Alabama, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia are participating.

It has taken months to roll out the operation.

In March, equipment and personnel from the United States began moving to Europe. In April U.S. Army Pre-positioned Stocks were drawn from sites in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — then moved to various training areas via truck convoy, rail or barge. That phase of the exercise demonstrated U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s ability to maintain a deterrent posture in northern Europe while concurrently shifting forces to other areas of the theater of operations. The bulk of activities are occurring in May.

May 14, 2021 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 12, 2020)

Paratroopers Don’t Travel Light.

Guam National Guard Supports Operation Spartan Flex

( U.S. Army photo by Captain Mark Scott)

We’ve run lots of photos of parachutists here at 4GWAR of the years, but this is one of the first to show a closeup view of a paratrooper while descending. Note all the kit he’s coming down with.

This photo was taken June 30, 2020 as U.S. Army paratroopers from the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), jumped from an Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft during training at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The jump was part of Spartan Flex, an operation to exercise joint capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.

July 12, 2020 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 6, 2019)

A Cloud of Mushrooms

Airborne Operation Dec. 3, 2019

(U.S. Army photo by Paolo Bovo)

U.S. Army, British and Italian paratroopers descend after jumping from an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft during airborne operations in Pordenone, Italy on December  3, 2019. On the right side of the photo, you can see the C-130 just above the ridge line.

The Hercules is from the U.S. Air Force 86th Airlift Wing. The U.S. paratroops are from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. European, Africa or Central Commands areas of responsibility.

Click here to see more photos from this operation.

December 6, 2019 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 2, 2019)

Sabre Dance.

US / ADF special operations forces HALO parachute jump Talisman Sabre 2019

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Nicole Rogge)

U.S. and Australian troops jump out of a Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan tactical transport plane over Queensland, Australia on July 17, 2019. The airdrop was part of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise to enhance interoperability between U.S. and Australian troops — and partner nations in the Pacific region.

Talisman Sabre — jointly sponsored by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Joint Operations Command — incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force personnel and equipment with the Australian Defence Force, and well as ships, aircraft and personnel from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

The United States has been increasing its military cooperation with Australia for more than a decade, including the continuing six-month rotation of hundreds of U.S. Marines to Robertson Barracks outside Darwin, in northern Australia, 4GWAR noted in 2012. That first company-sized contingent has grown to 2,500 Marines, which was the intention of a 2011 agreement reached between then-President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The RAAF’s C-27J Spartan is a battlefield airlifter can airdrop cargo and paratroops in-flight. It can also airlift a variety of cargo loads or evacuate up to 21 stretcher cases of sick or wounded personnel. The Italian-made, U.S.-designed turboprop plane bridges the gap between Army helicopters and larger Air Force transport aircraft.

To see more photos from the joint exercise, click here, here, here, and here.


August 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Remembering D-Day 75 Years On


D-Day Ike paratroopers

The Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, talks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before D-Day. (Defense Dept. photo)

The night before the invasion of Normandy 75 years ago this week, a small French boy spent his fifth birthday huddled in a cellar 25 miles from Omaha Beach. That same night, Francis L. Sampson, a Catholic chaplain with the 101st Airborne Division flew through German anti-aircraft fire over Normandy, convinced he was going to die.

Your 4GWAR editor told the story of those two people and how they came to meet in Indiana 40 years later for the Associated Press in 1984. In addition to the priest and the little boy, the story has taken on a subplot — Father Sampson’s actions in the days immediately after D-Day, may have inspired – at least in part – the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

You can read it all here.

As the war correspondent and author Cornelius Ryan found when he researched his bestseller, “The Longest Day,” there were many, many people with a story to tell about what happened to them in those historic 24 hours.

For instance there’s the significant role weather forecasters played 75 years ago.

A team of six meteorologists – two each from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, the Royal Navy and the United States military – worked for months honing forecasting techniques, before advising Allied commanders, led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on when the optimal time for attack would arrive.

The Allies ended up sailing and landing in relatively calm waters, but documents released in the intervening years showed just how close bad weather came to making the operation a complete failure, according to The Weather Channel U.K.

Higgins Boat LCVP at Normandy photo from NARA

Higgins Boat LCVP at Normandy (photo from the National Archives and Records Administration)

The Voice of America website has a piece on the crucial role the city of New Orleans played in World War II. New Orleans businessman Andrew Higgins and his factories equipped the military with a vessel that became critical to the D-Day invasion — the flat-bottomed, shallow draft boat with a drawbridge life exit ramp.

The Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel or LCVP, often referred to as the Higgins Boat, allowed infantry or small vehicles to exit through a front ramp — a major shift in the way to conduct amphibious warfare, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

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SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

June 6, 2019 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 21, 2014)

Night Moves.

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Young. (Click on the photo to enlarge image)

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Young.
(Click on the photo to enlarge image)

An Army Green Beret has his parachute harness inspected by a jumpmaster before conducting a night jump on Eglin Air Base, Florida on November 4, 2014.

As we’ve said in recent weeks, it isn’t often we get to see Special Operations Forces training up close and personal. And you can click here to see all the photos of this training scenario. There are other, more informative photos on the Defense Department website, but we’ve decided to focus this week on the photo above. It’s subject matter isn’t all that unusual: men in work clothes performing a task in the dying light of sunset. But it captures the light between sunset and dusk. It reminds us of paintings by the Dutch masters or Frederic Remington that sought to convey what the light was like at that time.

But these men are going to jump out of a large helicopter at night, in Alaska, in winter.  Tough stuff.

The Green Berets are assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne, and jumped from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter with combat equipment to maintain proficiency in airborne operations.

November 21, 2014 at 3:42 am Leave a comment


December 2022


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