by Tech. Sgt. William Farrow
Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
1/30/2008 – SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras — More than 250 Honduran soldiers took their first step toward Airborne readiness when they leaped from the back of a U.S. Army helicopter Jan. 24 in a combined training jump with U.S. Soldiers here.
Joint Task Force-Bravo member’s involvement enhanced relations between the two nation’s militaries by supporting the Honduran Army’s efforts in training its soldiers in airborne tactics at their airborne troop headquarters at Tamara, officials said.
While an Army aviation crew from Bravo Co., 1-228 Aviation Regiment took to the sky providing the jump platform, a CH-47D Chinook helicopter, Airmen and Sailors from JTF-Bravo’s medical element were on the ground ensuring care for any injuries incurred by the first-time jumpers.
With his emergency medical kit at his side, and prepared to administer medical care to any jumper’s injury, medical technician Staff Sgt. Chris Murray said he was thrilled to support the jumpers, but his skills hadn’t been needed.
“These guys are coming down pretty fast, and from what I understand there are a lot of ankle and knee injuries associated with this training, but so far there have been no complaints from the jumpers, only smiles,” he said.
Sergeant Murray said this was the first time he’d supported a jump and the experience he’s gaining while assigned to JTF-Bravo will only help him grow as an Air Force medic.
JTF-Bravo and Honduran forces both gain through working together closely and sharing experiences and techniques during combined operations, said Lt. Col. Gregory Jicha, the JTF-Bravo Army Forces commander.
“We have also worked closely with the Honduran Jumpmaster and Basic Airborne
Schools to assist them in numerous ways,” Colonel Jicha said.
“We provided instruction on how U.S. personnel establish a drop zone and control aircraft dropping personnel, as well as providing the aircraft to drop more than 270 Honduran Paracadistas as part of their initial airborne training,” he said.
Colonel Jicha said during the event, both U.S. and Honduran Jumpmasters were working side by side in the aircraft, building a sense of teamwork and camaraderie that would be difficult to establish any other way.
“It is also a chance to show other nations how our military uses its NCOs in critical positions to ensure mission success,” he said.