Spectacular Nighttime Parachute Drop in Alaska as Military Exercise Begins

U.S. Army paratroopers from 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne
U.S. Army paratroopers from 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 11th Airborne Division,  jump from multiple U.S. Air Force aircraft during a night airfield seizure during the military exercise Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Alaska. (Photo: Alejandro Peña /U.S. Air Force). 

400 paratroopers from the US Army and allied nations recently conducted a large-scale airborne operation at Fort Wainwright, kicking off the Alaska-based 11th Airborne Division's annual military training exercise.

A historic nighttime parachute jump over Fort Wainwright in Alaska was recently completed by around 400 paratroopers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, as well as several allied nations.

The parachute drop was more precisely conducted at Ladd Army Airfield at Fort Wainwright on March 26. Such an aviation event had never happened at Ladd previously and required extensive planning, preparation, and coordination, Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office states in a news release.

The purpose of the airborne operation was a night airfield seizure in support of the 11th Airborne Division’s annual regional combat training center exercise; Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Alaska. The military exercise focuses on training for deployment operations in an Arctic environment and tests the participants’ ability to conduct large-scale combat operations in a cold weather environment.

Parachute drop by U.S. Army paratroopers from 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne)
The airborne operation kicked off the 11th Airborne Division's annual regional combat training center exercise. (Photo: Alejandro Peña / U.S. Air Force).

Multinational environment

Paratroopers from the United States, Canada, Italy, and Australia participated in the parachute jump, while representatives from the militaries of Chile, Nepal, Mongolia, Norway, Germany, Canada, Finland, Italy, and Japan also were present to observe the jump and follow-on activity. 

The annual regional combat training center exercise has 8,000 participants and observers from 12 different countries.

"The military exercise's multinational environment helps increase Arctic proficiency throughout the Army and the joint force, in support of the nation’s, and the Army’s Arctic strategy," the 11th Airborne Divison states.

The US Army released its first-ever Arctic strategy in 2021, which lays out how the Army can better position itself to operate in the region.

U.S. Army Soldiers during annual regional combat training center exercise
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, move to defend against a airfield seizure. (Photo: Senior Airman Patrick Sullivan / U.S. Air Force).

No significant injuries from the jump were reported, and all jumpers landed on the airfield, so river and rooftop rescue services were not required. The exercise will continue through early April, with events happening in the training areas around Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely, according to the Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office.

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