03 August 2007

A Shout Out to the Sky Soldiers in Afghanistan

On June 6, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, also known as “The Herd”, held a transition-of-authority ceremony on Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The 173rd ABCT took over the AO of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

This is the unit's second tour in Afghanistan, the first began in the spring of 2005.

In September 2006, 173rd Airborne Brigade of Vicenza, Italy, became the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The change makes the 173rd the Army's newest and only separate airborne brigade combat team, which is a modular, self-sustaining unit.

The 173rd is also the European Command's only conventional airborne unit and is EUCOM's rapid response force. The brigade was formerly stationed solely in Vicenza, but now also has elements in Bamberg and Schweinfurt, Germany.

In March 2003 "The Herd" landed into the drop zone at Bashur, Iraq, opening a northern front in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

And here's a must-see video of that jump, beginning with almost 1000 Sky Soldiers lining up with their C-17s on the runway in Aviano, Italy.

The weather was bad at takeoff and the drop zone muddy after weeks of heavy storms.

And while the jump was good, the aircraft "jumped long", spreading the brigade out. As the sun rose, it revealed LGOPPs - "little groups of pissed-off paratroopers" - strung out along the impossibly muddy and almost 10,000-yard-long drop zone. LGOPPs form when paratroopers link up with whomever is near them, regardless of unit, and move as a group to the assembly points.

Eventually, over 2000 troops and equipment, including 5 M1A1 tanks, 5 Bradley fighting vehicles, 15 armored personnel carriers and 41 Humvees were airlifted to the field.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

No comments: