THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
British paratroopers and US Airmen of the 37th Airlift Squadron have made history as they participated in an exercise which saw UK paratroopers jump with British parachutes from a US aircraft for the first time.
Exercise Pegasus Eagle saw a C-130J Hercules from USAF's 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein base in Germany fly paratroopers from the 16th Air Assault Brigade for the jump over Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. British paratroopers have previously jumped from a US aircraft using US T-11 canopies before, while US soldiers have jumped from RAF aircraft using British LLP parachutes, but this was the first time that the nationality of parachutes and aircraft have been mixed. According to the UK Ministry of Defence, the exercise was "about developing the ability of British and American airborne forces, which are trained and ready to deploy on operations together, to mix and share resources."
Quoted in the local Clacton Gazette newspaper, Major Kyle Gauthier of the United States Air Force's 37th Airlift Squadron said: "We have each gained valuable practice of our skills, either as paratroopers or combat air lifters, and experience of working together as partner nations. This is very important because, if the time comes when we are operating together, we would be able to do it seamlessly having trained together on a regular basis," and Flight Lt Nick Tucker of the British 16th Air Assault Brigade also praised the Transatlantic effort, saying that "This training is all about being able to do more together. British and US paratroopers have trained to use each others parachutes for many years, and we’ve now demonstrated how we can mix aircraft and parachute systems."