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    KFOR 19 soars in Kosovo

    KFOR 19 soars in Kosovo

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Melissa Parrish | Paratroopers with Multinational Battle Group-East conduct their first jump as Kosovo...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Melissa Parrish 

    KFOR Regional Command East

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - A light breeze sailed over the snow-covered mountaintop and the sun lit up the sky as the paratroopers descended from helicopters.

    Paratroopers with Multinational Battle Group-East conducted their first jump as Kosovo Force 19 out of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo Dec. 22.

    This was the second attempt to perform airborne operations for MNBG-E. The first day the winds were too high and the operation had to be postponed.

    U.S. Army Capt. Mike Smolucha, assistant air planner with MNBG- E and a battle group engineer with 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division was glad the wind let up and allowed the paratroopers to jump.

    “Yesterday the winds were just too high, but today the weather worked out well for us,” said Smolucha.

    The paratroopers execute airborne operations in Kosovo to remain mission ready.

    “We are utilizing the drops to stay proficient on the T-11 advance tactical parachute system,” said Smolucha. “It also keeps our jump masters sharp on their duties and keeps them current as well.

    This is MNBG-E’s first airborne mission of the deployment and despite the challenges, the team pulled together and made it happen.

    “This is our first airborne operation out here at Camp Bondsteel with the rotary wing air craft provided by the southern command post,” said Smolucha. ”This was their first opportunity to do a passenger drop. It was a new drop zone and new challenges for everyone to put this airborne operation together, but we accomplished the mission.”

    Soldiers arrived from different locations in Kosovo to participate in the jump. 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne) paratroopers traveled from Camp Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny while German soldiers arrived from Prizren, Kosovo.

    German Master Sgt. Markus Lauter, a jump master with MNBG-E preformed jump master duties on several of the lifts and that allowed many paratroopers to earn their foreign jump wings.

    U.S. Army Pfc. Caleb Blair, brigade radiotelephone operator and an infantryman with 4th IBCT(A) from Port Jervis, New York, earned his foreign jump wings today and was excited to jump in Kosovo.

    “It was a beautiful day to jump,” said Blair. “The weather was great. Winds weren’t high, but it was definitely the coldest jump I’ve ever been on. “

    This is Blair’s third Black Hawk jump but his first time jumping with multinational soldiers and in a different country.

    “I had the opportunity to have a German jump master,” said Blair. “The commands were given by hand signals because it was so loud in the bird, and the Germans were extremely professional. It was impressive to see another country know our procedures so well.”

    MNBG-E is planning on making airborne operations a monthly event. Blair is looking forward to more opportunities to jump.

    “I love jumping out of airplanes,” said Blair. “There isn’t anything better to do in the world.”



    Date Taken: 12.22.2014
    Date Posted: 12.22.2014 17:57
    Story ID: 150956
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 
    Hometown: PORT JERVIS, NY, US

    Web Views: 1,168
    Downloads: 1