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.
Family members, of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers, gathered to strengthen their bodies, minds and community.
Spouses of paratroopers assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment participated in the inaugural “Airborne Thunder” fitness event on Aug. 8, 2018 inside Fort Bragg, N.C. at Pope Army Airfield’s Woodland Park.
“Airborne Thunders foster community through fitness. Creating an opportunity for our spouses to connect through fitness, sports and recreation improves not only physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, but encourages relationships among the Recon family,” said Mrs. Jen Hartsock, the 5-73 CAV’s Family Readiness Group Advisor.
Spouses of the Cavalry Squadron met at Woodland Park in the morning to conduct numerous fitness events designed to improve their cardiovascular and muscular fitness. Exercises in the fitness circuit included kettlebell squats, dips and a distance run.
“Today we offered a wide variety of workout to accommodate fitness levels. I’m inspired to say that the majority of the spouses who attended today either just had babies or are expecting,” said Hartsock. “The workout was geared to challenge even the fittest while accommodating those unable to participate in a high impact physical event.”
In celebration of the coming school year, children were also invited to attend. They enjoyed a nearby playground and an opportunity to have their face painted and receive school supplies.
At the conclusion of Airborne Thunder, senior leadership from the Cavalry Squadron spoke with the spouses about the unit’s future training events and other opportunities for them to participate as members of the Family Readiness Group.
“Behind many of our strong soldiers are strong spouses. Gathering together helps create authentic connections which are especially important,” said Harstock.
Two paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division distinguished themselves above their peers during a grueling competition on Fort Bragg held July 25-26.
Staff Sgt. Miguel Matias, a Medic assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment and Sgt. Tyler Fisher, a Medic assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment proved their exceptional medical knowledge while demonstrating steadfast endurance during the two day competition.
“Best Medic is important because it tests out the Medics’ competency and their physical and mental toughness,” said Sgt. 1st Class Evelyn Pollard, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s senior medic, about the competition.
Participants began the competition in the early morning with a Ranger Physical Fitness Test before moving onto a written evaluation and marksmanship ranges. Designed to determine the division’s top two medics, events continued to stress the paratroopers’ technical knowledge and mental and physical endurance with an obstacle course, night land-navigation, a 12-mile ruck and a rope-rigging evaluation.
With little rest and nutrition, paratroopers’ completed a final evaluation consisting of lanes testing their ability to respond to a wide range of simulated medical emergencies.
Spc. Edgar Cortes, a member of Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was the youngest medic competing, having earned his Expert Field Medical Badge earlier this year.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Cortes before beginning the competition. “I came here for the experience and realistic training.”
Matias and Tyler will continue to train to compete in the Army-wide Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. competition, scheduled to begin September 15 on Camp Bullis, Texas.