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Paratroopers Train to Jump Stinger Missiles, Defend Against Air Threats on Future Drop Zones

82nd Airborne Paratroopers are Training to Conduct Static-Line Airborne Operations with the Air-Defense Missile

Conducting static-line airborne operations with non-typical weapons systems requires specialized training and equipment due to their large size. Paratroopers accustomed to the size and weight of a weapons case carrying an M4 or M249 must learn how to pack, move with and exit an aircraft with the bulkier equipment.

Paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division have been training to perform airborne insertions with the Stinger Missile Jump Pack, a Man-Portable Air-Defense System capable of defending drop zones from hostile unmanned aerial vehicles and rotary wing aircraft.

“Operational environments the Army has operated in were mainly focused on countering insurgencies and Air Defense’s focus centered around protection from Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles,” said Capt. Herman Wu, the 3rd BCT Air Defense Officer. “It wasn’t until near-peer threats to paratroopers became apparent that the Army recognized a capability gap exists in Short Range Air Defense on the drop zone.”

The weapon’s capability to defend against air threats on the drop zone makes it an essential component in future airborne operations.

“As an airborne unit, the Stinger Missile Jump Pack greatly increases our ability to defend against enemy UAS and rotary wing threats,” said Wu. “It is likely our next drop zone will be beyond the range of any friendly Air Defense assets and air superiority does not guarantee safety from enemy air threats.

“It could likely be our only defense against air threats in the initial stages of an airborne operation as the enemy tries to take advantage of our re-organization,” he added.

Training to jump with the Stinger Missile Jump Pack on Fort Bragg consisted of several events intended to familiarize the 3rd BCT paratroopers with the bulkiness of the equipment when exiting an aircraft. It also helped increase their knowledge about the system’s employment.

Paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and soldiers assigned to the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conduct classroom training on conducting static-line airborne operations with the Stinger Missile Jump Pack Thursday, March 15.

Classroom instruction, practical exercise at the United States Army Advanced Airborne School’s 34-foot tower and virtual-reality training at the Fort Bragg Virtual Stinger Missile Dome conducted throughout March with the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade developed the paratroopers’ knowledge about jumping with the system and employing it on the ground.

“Through this training, paratroopers are gaining confidence in their ability to successfully conduct a static-line airborne operation with the Stinger Missile Jump pack,” said Wu. “Their presence on the drop zone provides an extremely effective countermeasure to enemy air threats.”

Panther Brigade Honors First Mass-Tactical Parachute Operation

Fort Bragg paratroopers and residents of South Carolina gathered in Camden, South Carolina on Thursday, March 29 to commemorate an event proving the 82nd Airborne was a viable concept in battle.

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and Kershaw County residents celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first mass parachute drop, an event largely seen as the proof-of-concept of large scale parachute operations in World War II.

The original jump occurred Monday, March 29th, 1943 and involved the entire 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Led by then-Col. James Gavin, the paratroopers jumped from more than 120 C-47 aircraft before assaulting a nearby bridge over the Wateree River.

“The training exercise not only proved mass-tactical parachute operations were feasible and could be successful, it provided the men of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment valuable training before they departed the United States for the European Theater where they would conduct four Regimental-sized combat jumps; Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland,” said Col. Gregory Beaudoin, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

A ceremony including a wreath-laying by members of the community commemorated the event which also honored WWII veterans present and their family members.

The Spring 2018 Edition of the Static Line

The Spring 2018 Edition of the Static Line, the quarterly news magazine of the Panther Brigade is now available!

Inside, you’ll find how 2nd Battalion honors their fallen, details about the Golden Brigade Breakfast scheduled for All American Week and read about the Janney Cup competition.