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    82nd Airborne Division conducts review with airborne assault demonstration

    82nd Airborne Division conducts review with airborne assault demonstration

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Charles Crail | Former Sgt. Mehlon Sebring, a World War II Veteran of the 319th Glider Field Artillery...... read more read more

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division put a new twist on their grand finale for All American Week, by combining the Review Ceremony with a joint forcible entry demonstration at Sicily Drop Zone, on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, May 21, 2015.

    The Division performed an airfield seizure operation followed by a ceremony to honor “Past, Present, and Future” Paratroopers.

    Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, commanding general of the Division, described this year’s review as, “a chance to see up close and personal what the All American Division is better known for … and that is conducting airborne operations, and if necessary, closing with and destroying our nation’s enemies.”

    The demonstration began with the appearance of three Humvees towing aircraft door mock-ups on trailers that pulled to a stop in front of the spectators. Jumpmasters demonstrated the actions currently happening inside the approaching aircraft, giving the attendees an idea of what was happening miles away and thousands of feet in the air. The paratroopers conducting the demonstration then simulated the full deployment sequence of the T-11 parachute and finished by simulating the landing and recovery of the equipment.

    As the events played out before the audiences’ eyes, they listened to a broadcast of leaders communicating commands over the radio and a play by play narration. Throughout the audience, family members excitedly asked questions of the uniformed service members seated next to them.

    Two Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft streaked over the drop zone providing a demonstration of pre-assault fires. This was simulated with explosives that caused many of the audience members to jump in their seats.

    Shortly after, more than 20 C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft dropped more than 49 heavy drop platforms of equipment and supplies. Beginning at noon, the same aircraft returned and deposited nearly 1,500 Paratroopers over the next 20 minutes.

    Clarke and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Greene, the Division command team, with Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, were the first Paratroopers to jump from the lead aircraft.

    Maneuver forces assembled on the drop zone and the Division’s newest mobility asset, the Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle, zipped around and demonstrated their capacity for rapid movement of forces.

    Call for fire missions came in and the crews of M119A3 and M777 howitzers from the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Div. Artillery, 82nd Abn. Div., sprang to action, sending 24 live rounds into the impact area.

    The honor of firing the very first round from the first howitzer went to a 90-year-old Veteran of the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, former Sgt. Mehlon Sebring. The World War II Veteran completed two glider assaults and saw action in Normandy and Bastogne.

    Sebring said he and his family have visited Fort Bragg for All American Week six times before and that he appreciates how the division treats their veterans.

    “I’ve told people, when we go down there, we’re treated like royalty,” said Sebring.

    With the indirect fires demonstration finished, OH-58 Kiowa Warriors from the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Abn. Div., swooped in and conducted a gun-run, complete with simulation explosions representing 70 mm rockets. They continued to patrol the air throughout the operation.

    Colored smoke drifted across the drop zone and support-by-fire elements of Humvees with mounted machine-guns took position. Simultaneously, the assault team began to bound toward the objective: a small plywood building in the middle of the drop zone. The team blew the door open and cleared the structure. With the assault team falling back, engineers moved in to rig demolition. The maneuver team moved off the drop zone and the structure blew to pieces, startling the audience again.

    “I think they feel some pride to be the platoon chosen to conduct this operation,” said 1st Lt. Cody Huggins, an infantry officer assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div., and the platoon leader for the assault team. “Everyone from [1st Bn., 325th AIR] put in a lot of work on this.”

    The howitzers fired another barrage of nearly 160 rounds in rapid succession, shaking the ground for several minutes. Then the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade fired six rockets, leaving huge trails of smoke and drawing impressed reactions from many in the crowd.

    Music from the 82nd Abn. Div. Band filled the air and from the far side of the drop zone obscured by billowing, white smoke, a formation of nearly 5,000 Paratroopers began to cross. Led by Clarke, the Division formation marched in sync to triumphant drumbeats while the Kiowa helicopters buzzed by over their heads. The formation came to a halt just in front of the audience.

    Then the ceremony opened with the national anthem and an invocation. The 82nd Sustainment Brigade rejoined the Division during the ceremony, removing their patrol caps and donning the distinctive maroon berets. A special recognition was given to the Veterans and the more than 80 Gold Star Family members in attendance. Clarke led a solemn moment of silence for the Paratroopers that have given their lives in service to the Nation.

    The senior noncommissioned officer of the Division, Command Sgt. Maj. Greene, said the JFE was a way to connect “Past, Present, and Future” Paratroopers.

    “On the field were our current paratroopers, in the stands were our past paratroopers and the children in the audience that may be inspired by our demonstration are representative of our future Paratroopers,” said Greene.

    At least one audience member plans to make the command sergeant major’s words come true.

    “I liked it,” said Blake Solo, 4, son of 2nd Btn., 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Veteran, Anthony Solo. “I’m excited to see Army guys jump out of planes.”

    Blake and his parents traveled from Washington, D.C. to attend the Airborne Review. Anthony and Susan said his name was composed of letters of fallen service members’ names and that he wants to be a Paratrooper when he grows up. Blake’s parents said he liked to sing cadences and jump from furniture, shouting “Airborne!”

    As he ran off to inspect another static display of military vehicles, Blake grinned and shouted “H-Minus!”



    Date Taken: 05.22.2015
    Date Posted: 05.22.2015 13:04
    Story ID: 164283
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 
    Hometown: FAYETTEVILLE, NC, US
    Hometown: FORT BRAGG, NC, US
    Hometown: WASHINGTON, DC, US

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