Joint Task Force-East supports Romanian airborne training

MK AIRFIELD ADMINISTRATION CENTER, Romania — U. S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Elijah Acklin, guides Romanian paratroopers through pre-jump training in preparation for airborne operations here, July 15, 2008. (Department of Defense photo by Maj. Jennifer Johnson)

MK AIRFIELD ADMINISTRATION CENTER, Romania — A team of U.S. airmen and soldiers spent a day at Joint Task Force-East training Romanian troops on airborne operations July 15.

Airmen from the 786th Security Forces Squadron, along with soldiers from their partner unit, 5th Quartermaster Company, provided airborne training to troops of the Romanian Special Operations Battalion as part of Carpathian Summer 2008, an annual air force training rotation.

"We are parachute riggers. We came here as a jumpmaster team to help the Air Force conduct airborne operations between U.S. and Romanian paratroopers," said Sgt. Malkeld Quartes, a 5th Quartermaster Company jump master from Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Every year, U.S. Air Force Europe selects a different location to conduct training. This year's training went to Joint Task Force-East in Romania. In contrast to last year's "Proof of Principle" rotation, Joint Task Force-East operations can accommodate a variety of units to train. Under the tutelage of Tech. Sgt. Mark Hawsey and Senior Master Sgt. John Storms, U.S. personnel demonstrated the steps necessary to prepare for a jump. The Romanian students then took the steps themselves.

"It is a good experience from both sides to work hand in hand to see our counterparts do the same thing we do," said Sgt. Todd Harrell, 5th Quartermaster Company.

At the end of the pre-jump training, the troops were taken to a C130 aircraft to practice static line control, activation of reserve, red light, jump refusal, and exiting procedures, commonly referred to as SARJE by airborne personnel.

"Basically, it's performance oriented. We actually talk them through the actions in the aircraft," said Sgt. 1st Class Elijah Acklin, 5th Quartermaster Company jump master primary.

Also participating in training was Staff Sgt. Chris Droegemueller, from the 86th Contingency Response Group, who has been to Romania four times. Normally, his job entails providing Romanian troops with air transportation for combat missions.

In the words of the JTF-East commander, as we prosecute the Global War on Terrorism, it is important to strengthen the ties that bind us with our foreign partners so that we are able to conduct seamless operations in the future.

"We enhance the friendships with other forces and other airborne units. Last but not least, as long as we are trained in a situation close to combat situations, we face less stress and less risk in real situations. We get use to the other procedures." said Col. Adrian Ciolponea, the Romanian Special Operations Battalion Commander.

Besides being part of strategic importance, Lt. Roland Tirdea, a Romanian paratrooper, summed up best what training at Joint Task Force-East means to the troops.

"It's good for tactical training. And it's fun."

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