News: Centurions take to the air with Australian partners
Story by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted an Australian partnership airborne training jump Thursday, July 11, 2013, here.
The 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne) sponsored the Australian jumpmaster team to conduct the partnership jump in preparation for the brigade’s upcoming role in Operation Talisman Saber 2013 in Shoalwater Bay, Australia.
Australian army Warrant Officer Class 2 John Edwards, hailing from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, serving as the wing sergeant major of the parachute training school, said, “We’re here to assist in dispatching of the American paratroopers so they can earn their Australian wings.”
As the senior adviser of the five-man Australian jumpmaster team, Edwards was excited to come to the Last Frontier and participate in the time-honored tradition of partnership jumps.
“I’m just glad to be given the opportunity to just come over and work with your guys. I have done this partnership before, but I’ve never come over to the states to do it. I’ve dispatched Talisman Saber in 2001 with the 501st,” said Edwards.
In total, 530 paratroopers parachuted from 1,500 feet out of an Alaska National Guard C-23 Sherpa aircraft. All jumpers who participated in this partnership jump qualified to wear the Australian Parachutist Badge.
This was the Centurion Battalion’s first foreign partnership jump since redeploying from Afghanistan last year.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Peter Crandall, the commander for 725th BSB, hailing from New Berlin, Wis., served as the airborne commander and oversaw the training.
“We’re making sure that we have a nice safe jump. Partnering with the Australians is always a good thing. We go to war with partners. Understanding the interoperability between the Australian airborne community and 725th helps as we go forward,” said Crandall.