News: Spartan Brigade conducts its first-ever airborne operation north of the Arctic Circle
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
DEADHORSE, Alaska - Paratroopers with Chaos Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, conducted an airborne operation to simulate a search-and-rescue mission for downed aircraft in Deadhorse, Alaska, Feb. 25.
“Operation Spartan Pegasus was a combined training mission between USARAK, 4-25th, the Air National Guard (144th Airlift Squadron), and the Alaska National Guard to train and validate the unit's ability to conduct a search and rescue of a downed aircraft in Deadhorse, [which] is located only three kilometers from the Beaufort Sea,” said the 1-40th Cavalry Regiment Commander, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard Scott.
Scott said the paratroopers have been working hard to ensure mission success.
“In the last several weeks, Chaos Troop, commanded by U.S. Capt. Nelson D'Antonio, has been focused on training his soldiers to execute this type of mission profile, [such as] responding to a downed aircraft,” Scott said. “Their training consisted of skiing, skijoring, and training in an arctic environment at the individual and platoon level.”
Scott said that the mission was important because it validated the Spartan Brigade's ability to respond to any contingency mission in support of Alaskan Command and the United States Army Alaska. With 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment’s recent jump into Thailand, the Spartan Brigade demonstrated it can conduct a forcible entry mission anywhere in support of U.S. Pacific Command.
“There is no other airborne unit in the U.S. Army that can do what they did today and it takes a specially trained paratrooper to endure this type of environment,” Scott said. “It also says a lot about the soldiers and their dedication to mission accomplishment.”
U.S. Army Col. Matthew W. McFarlane, commander of the Spartan Brigade, said this mission demonstrates another example of the brigade’s capabilities and the reach it gives to U.S. Army Alaska and the U.S. Army Pacific commander.
“As a brigade, it’s the first time we have jumped north of the Arctic Circle,” said McFarlane. [What] makes it even more significant, in my eyes, is that a week and a half ago we jumped into the jungles of Thailand at 90 degrees and 85 percent humidity, which highlights that this brigade [can] go anywhere, anytime, to do anything that our Nation asks.”
McFarlane acknowledged the mission’s success required the integration of the joint team.
“Our National Guard partners that participated with us - the 176 Air Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, and the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, Alaskan Army National Guard who provided support for the operation - were critical components of the mission as we trained a defense support [to] civil authorities mission profile,” McFarlane said.
McFarlane said the mission was to parachute in, move to the crash site, establish support, [rescue] any survivors, and evacuate the injured.
“The biggest threat was the bitter cold, once the force hit the ground,” McFarlane said. “The winds across the drop-zone did provide some risk, but based on thorough preparation and mission rehearsals, we significantly reduced the risk on the jump and during operations in the Arctic conditions.”
“Despite the extreme temperatures, the soldiers had a can-do attitude and pressed forward to ensure we got the jump in and moved all of the mission personnel and equipment to the departure airfield effectively,” McFarlane said. “I think it highlighted the tremendous leadership of C Troop. Despite the extreme environment, they ensured their soldiers were safe and able to complete the mission.”
PV2 Anderson Springer, a native from Austin, Texas, and a paratrooper assigned to C Troop, 1-40th Cavalry Regiment, said he thought the mission went well.
“I like how [our] unit expects us to do a little bit more,” Springer said. “The first sergeant is always emphasizing how [important the troop is]. I think we did our part. Charlie Troop did it, and no one got hurt.”
This work, Spartan Brigade conducts its first-ever airborne operation north of the Arctic Circle, by SFC Jason Epperson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.