Photos: US and European paratroopers jump during major exercise

Photos: US and European paratroopers jump during major exercise


More than 2,600 paratroopers from 11 nations completed a series of three airborne forcible entry operations during the largest U.S. and NATO annual exercise in Europe in recent days.

The Swift Response 2021 exercise involved three brigade jumps with U.S. paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade out of Vicenza, Italy.

Paratroopers from the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, Romania and other NATO allies also participated.

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and British Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Parachute Regiment prepare for a jump at Green Ramp, N.C., May 6. (Spc. Jillian Hix/Army)

A total of 7,000 paratroopers supported the exercise both in the United States and Europe as part of the preparations and follow on missions.

Range time for the soldiers, including live fires and other training missions, continued in Europe this week.

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and British Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Parachute Regiment prepare to jump at Green Ramp, N.C., May 6. (Spc. Jillian Hix/Army)
Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and British Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Parachute Regiment prepare to jump at Green Ramp, N.C., May 6. (Spc. Jillian Hix/Army)

Swift Response 21 is part of the larger umbrella exercise called Defender Europe 2021.

Defender Europe involves more than 28,000 troops from 26 nations. The soldiers are conducting operations in 30 training areas across a dozen countries.

Paratroopers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and the British 16th Air Assault Brigade, board a C-17 Globemaster III at Fort Bragg, N.C., to conduct a Joint Forcible Entry exercise in Estonia. (Spc. Garrett Whitfield/Army)
Paratroopers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and the British 16th Air Assault Brigade, board a C-17 Globemaster III at Fort Bragg, N.C., to conduct a Joint Forcible Entry exercise in Estonia. (Spc. Garrett Whitfield/Army)

The exercise’s limits span from Estonia to Morocco — all part of U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command’s area of operations.

The airborne portions this week were the opening salvo after months of preparation that included equipment shipments, pre-staging of supplies and various unit rehearsals.

An aircraft conducts an in-flight refuel while en-route to Estonia May 7. (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/Army)
An aircraft conducts an in-flight refuel while en-route to Estonia May 7. (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/Army)

Previous exercises included logistics over the shore, movements in Albania and rocket live fires in Estonia.

An 82nd Airborne Division Jumpmaster inspects a Paratrooper onboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft bound for Estonia May 7. (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/Army)
An 82nd Airborne Division Jumpmaster inspects a Paratrooper onboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft bound for Estonia May 7. (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/Army)

Follow-on exercises will include live fires in Bosnia and Herzegovina under Immediate Response 21.

The same exercise will include light infantry battalion maneuvers in North Macedonia.

Paratroopers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, wait to exit a C-17 Globemaster III over Estonia May 7. (Sgt. Catessa Palone/Army)
Paratroopers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, wait to exit a C-17 Globemaster III over Estonia May 7. (Sgt. Catessa Palone/Army)

Missile defense live fires are scheduled for next week.

Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division, Polish 6th Airborne Brigade, Dutch 11th Air Assault Brigade, and 495th Parachute Battalion execute a jump at Boboc Air Base, Romania. (Spc. Jabari Clyburn/Army)
Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division, Polish 6th Airborne Brigade, Dutch 11th Air Assault Brigade, and 495th Parachute Battalion execute a jump at Boboc Air Base, Romania. (Spc. Jabari Clyburn/Army)

More exercises are planned later in May and early June in Romania and Bulgaria.

A bilateral exercise with security partners in Morocco is the final event of Defender Europe and is scheduled for mid-June.

Soldiers lug gear after a jump at Boboc Air Base, Romania, May 10, 2021. (Sgt. Catessa Palone/Army)
Soldiers lug gear after a jump at Boboc Air Base, Romania, May 10, 2021. (Sgt. Catessa Palone/Army)





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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.