RUKLA, Lithuania —
Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division deployed here to participate in an interoperability/readiness exercise with NATO allies and other U.S. partners.
Elements of the division flew non-stop aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from their home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Lithuania and Latvia, where they parachuted into their respective drop zones during the early morning hours, June 9.
“We flew over 7,000 kilometers from our location in North Carolina, performed one aerial refuel and then dropped in here [Lithuania] with enough combat power and communications to reach back to our home station and partner nations,” said Army Lt. Col. Scott Pence, the commander of the jump near Rukla, Lithuania.
Pence and other members of the division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team jumped as part of the annual Swift Response training exercise.
Swift Response 18 featured airborne forces from nine nations, including Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The exercise is scheduled to run June 7-15.
“By working with our NATO allies and partner nations, we are able to maintain and strengthen our interoperability,” Pence said. “Every time we do an exercise like this and work with the Lithuanians, the Polish or Latvians, we are able to test our communication…