Friendship Jump With Wings
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Kincaid
January 8, 2020
The world can be full of differences, whether that be beliefs,
culture or even language; however, sometimes working through those
differences can lead to friendship.
Reserve Citizen Airmen
from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia took part in facilitating a
Friendship Jump on the last day of Exercise Eager Lion over a remote
section of Jordan on September 5, 2019.
September 5, 2019 - A set of jump wings prepared for the pinning ceremony that takes place after the Friendship Jump remains in focus as the jumper’s parachute to the Jordanian ground during Exercise Eager Lion. Eager Lion, U.S. Central Command's largest and most complex exercise, is an opportunity to integrate forces in a multilateral environment, operate in realistic terrain and strengthen military-to-military relationships.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kincaid)
Dobbins provided the
airpower which got nearly 250 military members from 18 allied
nations airborne to participate in the jump.
“This is a great
way to showcase infiltration methods for both static-line and
military free-fall allowing the 18 nations of the Special Forces
coalition to participate,” said a representative from the command
element of the Special Operations Coalition.
Upwards of 150
static-line jumpers leapt from approximately 1,250 feet about ground
level, while the high altitude, low opening (HALO) jumpers, amassing
more than 75 members, leapt from nearly 13,000 feet above ground
“Conducting these complex operations allows the forces
to go through detailed mission planning and tactical procedures
allowing greater strength by, with and through our partnership,”
said a jump master leading the special tactics operators on the
Rondon explained there were two primary
purposes of the jump: to conduct specialized airlift missions for
special operations teams and to strengthen international relations.
“We were here to provide a stable C-130 operating platform while
enhancing the aircrew’s expertise and the user’s capabilities,” said
Maj. R. Oscar Rondon, 94th Operations Support Squadron commander and
lead aircraft commander. “Working together requires understanding
their needs and requirements which can be achieved with solid
Being “Reserve Ready” is a mantra of the
U.S. Air Force Reserve and the Friendship Jump provided everyone
involved – from the flight planners to the jumpers – real world
experience to take home.
“This is my first experience with
Exercise Eager Lion,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Fenimore, a 700th Airlift
Squadron loadmaster. “The Friendship Jump being the pinnacle event
of the exercise was great to be a part of because it taught me how
to overcome language barriers.”
September 5, 2019 - A U.S.
soldier gets jump wings pinned on for his participation in the Friendship Jump during Exercise Eager Lion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kincaid)
Given the nature of the job,
environmental factors also played a role in language barriers.
“An open hatch at a couple thousand feet can be extremely loud,
making it even more difficult to communicate," Fenimore said.
"Having a thorough briefing on the ground over hand signals was
crucial to the success of the mission and that is something that
will stick with me for future jumps.”
A friendship begins
with a clear understanding of one another and being mindful of the
other person’s beliefs.
“Our biggest takeaway from this jump
is that over communicating when dealing with other nations is key to
flexibility," Rondon said. "Many of the participants are experts in
their career fields, but we must work together to get the job done.
This requires a clear understanding of the requirements and
“You have to ensure the instructions
are clear while being respectful and mindful of other people’s
cultures,” said Rondon. “Having each participant focus on the big
picture resulted in a successful exercise.”
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