By Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published May 12, 2014
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) --
From May 4-9 a total of 97 foreign and allied partners tested, built and strengthened partnerships during International Jump Week alongside American Airmen and Soldiers in the skies over Ramstein.
With eight European countries joining the event this year the clouds over Alzey landing zone parted ways to a sea of parachutes and a melting pot of service uniforms.
"Jump week is all about building partnership capacities," said Tech. Sgt. Brian Angell, 435th Contingency Response Group personal parachute program manager. "Many of the junior enlisted Airmen and Soldiers here today are getting their first chance to jump with international paratroopers and the experience gained sharing training tactics and procedures are invaluable."
Airmen and Soldiers weren't the only ones sharing jumps for the first time with international partners. Many of the airborne troops from the visiting eight countries also flew into the same first time situation.
"It is always very important to familiarize yourself with partner nation procedures," said Hellenic Air Force Capt. Byron Alivizatos, Search and Rescue Operations Squadron. "These jumps create an opportunity to form well rounded paratroopers and strengthen deployed operations."
The 304 airborne troops that participated tested themselves across three different aircraft platforms, including the C-130J Super Hercules, the MC-130H Talon and a C-17: totaling 401 static-line jumps and 132 high-altitude low-opening jumps across three days.
"Being a piece of this experience was incredibly satisfying," said U.S. Army Pfc. Kelly Orullian, 5th Quartermaster Aerial Delivery parachute rigger. "A large part of what I do is making sure everyone is prepared and confident for their jump. What made this instance special was the chance to work with so many different jumpers from different nations."
Working to create international bonds and friendships was a large part of IJW. Harmonizing 97 jumpers from eight different nations with eight different modus operandi was just as key as the actual jumping.
"As a jump master you are responsible for the lives of the paratroopers inside the aircraft, and that's something I take to heart," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Munoz-Lamos, Special Operations Command Africa air NCO. "It's a great opportunity to link up with our partner nations to improve our relationships within the airborne community. When you're in there you control the aircraft, it doesn't matter what rank they are, it doesn't matter what rank I am."