Airborne Engineers from the 82nd Airborne Division tested their mental agility and physical endurance Aug. 28, 2018 on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Paratroopers from the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team participated in an “Amazing Race” style contest, testing their ability to solve problems while under physical stress.
The battalion divided into teams by birth month and set off to visit as many stations as possible throughout the brigade’s area on Fort Bragg. Stations required the paratroopers to solve a mentally and physically-demanding task to earn points.
At one location, paratroopers closed their eyes, randomly grasped the hands of two separate teammates and untangled themselves into a circle. Another event required a blindfolded paratrooper to navigate through a course while receiving verbal instructions from his partner.
82nd Airborne Division paratroopers trained to jump into and seize key terrain during a Joint Forcible Entry exercise late Tuesday, August 14th on Fort Bragg’s Holland Drop Zone.
Paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducted the JFE to hone their combat skills and leadership techniques while showcasing their proficiency at the division’s hallmark mission.
After conducting the jump into Holland Drop Zone, the paratroopers assembled and began combat operations as daylight quickly faded. The rest of the week was filled with varying scenarios testing not only their tactical skills, but their ability to innovate and improvise solutions to complex problems.
Today, we honor the 75th Anniversary of the 505th PIR and 307th AEB’s first Star of Valor – Operation Husky. On 9 July 1943, at 1930 hours, the first of 226 planes carrying the paratroopers departed their airfields in Tunisa enroute to Sicily. There, they would conduct the first regimental-sized combat parachute jump in U.S. Army History.
Due to many factors, most of the paratroopers missed their assigned drop zones and the regiment was widely scattered. Throughout the night and well into July 10th, 505th PIR and 307th AEB paratroopers wreaked havoc on their enemies while fighting towards “Objective Y;” a series of 16 concrete pillboxes. Of the 3407 paratroopers of the 505th PIR who jumped, 424 were wounded or killed by the end of Operation Husky.
On the ground, the paratroopers fought with tenacity and aggressiveness. Their training in small unit tactics, eagerness to close with the enemy and universal understanding of the mission resulted in success.
Of Operation Husky, Gen. Gavin wrote “Here, in Sicily, he [Paratroopers] proved the hard way that vertical envelopment at night was feasible and almost impossible to stop, that the American trooper has the mental and physical courage to try anything, asking and expecting no odds.”
Take time today to learn more about Operation Husky. The heritage of the American Paratrooper, one you are building today, rests on the foundation laid by these brave Troopers.