News: Spartan paratroopers jump in arctic gear
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
JOINT BASE ELMDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - For the first time since returning from Afghanistan last year, U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted an arctic airborne operation Dec. 12 from a C-130 aircraft onto JBER’s Malemute Drop Zone.
Paratroopers conducted a unique “tailgate” jump, donning the complete arctic over-white winter uniform with ski equipment and the arctic sustainment packing list as a rehearsal for upcoming airborne operations in northern Alaska next year.
The purpose for conducting arctic airborne training events is to maintain mission readiness for operating in arctic conditions, whether in conflict, humanitarian support or military support to civil authorities mission sets.
Army Staff Sgt. Bruce Henderson, an infantry paratrooper assigned to Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), said the Soldiers are getting a feel for jumping with the equipment.
“We are testing out jumping with the skis and the capabilities to see if we can start implementing it in our training,” Henderson, a native of Keystone Heights, Fla., said. “The skis would give us a lot more mobility on the battlefield.”
Once on the ground, the jumpers de-rigged their equipment and skied to the rally point on the drop zone.
Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Richard M. Scott said this jump would give his paratroopers a new experience and prepare them future arctic training events.
“We need to have the arctic equipment that includes our skis and poles,” Scott said. “We are evaluating and rehearsing how we fight in our skis and how we move in them.”
Despite the weather, no one was feeling it, according to Scott.
“This just validates to all of our paratroopers that you can give any challenge or task to a paratrooper and we can come out here and do it and get the job done in these types of conditions,” Scott said.