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    Israeli, U.S. paratroopers train together in Israel

    Israeli, U.S. paratroopers train together

    Photo By Capt. Aaron Smith | U.S. Army Soldiers with Legion Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry...... read more read more

    Shouts of encouragement, both English and Hebrew, footsteps and the crack of an M4 carbine fill the air during a warm March afternoon in Israel. A cheer erupts as a U.S. soldier hits the target he was engaging: a balloon attached to a target 50 meters away. The organized cacophony is part of a three-day training event involving paratroopers from Legion Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and their counterparts with the Israeli Defense Forces 890th Airborne Battalion.

    Legion Company, currently deployed to Israel conducting security operations for a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, had the unique opportunity to conduct this training at the IDF paratrooper training base March 12-14. The training involved rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other physical competitions designed to hone infantry skills.

    “So far I’m pretty excited about the training,” explained U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Frank Mazza, a squad leader with Legion Company. “I love learning about how different countries operate and conduct training.”

    The company split into multiple groups, each occupying a portion of the range to train on a specific fundamental of marksmanship, and all culminated in some sort of competition. At the machine gun range, soldiers sprinted 25 meters in full kit before returning to the range to quickly engage targets.

    U.S. Army Spc. William Vess, an infantryman with Legion company, said his favorite portion of the day involved Krav Maga; a military self-defense fighting system developed by Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces derived from a combination of Boxing, Wrestling, Aikido, Judo and Karate techniques.

    U.S. and IDF soldiers donned protective equipment as they paired together for a rigorous sixty-minute sparring session designed to harness aggression in a hand-to-hand situation.

    “Today I learned different types of boxing techniques, and ways to stay mobile in a hand-to- hand fight,” explained Vess. “It was a very good workout,” he added, while wiping sweat from his forehead.

    The cooperative training strengthened the already robust partnership between the U.S. and Israeli militaries, and built a foundation of trust between the two paratrooper units.

    “I think this was a great opportunity to demonstrate interoperability, while continuing to build readiness,” explained U.S. Army Capt Gregory Sheffler, commander of Legion Company. “My guys had a lot of fun, and the fact that they were able to hone their skills, is a win-win for me.”

    The deployment of a Terminal Altitude Area Defense System to Israel is an exercise involving U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Israeli forces, under the Dynamic Force Employment concept. The exercise builds readiness and interoperability in the region, demonstrates the U.S. capability to rapidly deploy air defense assets globally, and demonstrates U.S. Army Europe's mission to deter potential adversaries and support allies.



    Date Taken: 03.14.2019
    Date Posted: 03.14.2019 06:46
    Story ID: 314177
    Location: IL

    Web Views: 1,882
    Downloads: 2