ALZEY, GERMANY –
ALZEY, Germany – U.S. service members and NATO ally and partners came together to participate in the 5th Quartermaster-Theater Aerial Delivery Company annual Operation Toy Drop, Dec. 16-20.
Operation Toy Drop is a multi-national training exercise that provides the opportunity for paratroopers to train with jumpmasters from other nations and share airborne operations tactics, techniques and procedures. This training also provided the opportunity to strengthen relations with NATO ally and partners.
“The teambuilding that we have within this operation is great, we have nations from all over Europe,” said Sgt. 1st Class Basilio Lashley, air operations noncommissioned officer in charge with the 5th QM-TADC. “We come together and it’s a great feeling. We all work together, we jump together, build comradery as usual and it’s just a great opportunity for us to intermingle with our different NATO partners.”
During this event, paratroopers jumped from U.S. C-130 aircraft with U.S. parachutes and German C-160 aircraft with German parachutes, using foreign jumpmasters to provide direction in the plane. They rehearsed all the actions inside the aircraft that they’re going to conduct, how they’re going to control their static line, how they’re going to exit and drop from aircraft in order to properly conduct HALO (high-altitude, low-opening) or static line jumps.
The paratroopers participating in the event also had the opportunity to earn jump wings from other nations. The U.S. and German jump wings were given to those who participated with their jumpmasters.
Not only did this event provide interoperability training opportunities, it also provided the opportunity for the service members to once again interact with the local community that graciously shares their land for airborne operations training.
“Operation Toy Drop has been going on for about five years now, what it is, is a little bit of give back to the community,” said Capt. Thomas C. Barcomb, commander, 5th QM-TADC. “For the 5th Quartermaster, our normal drop zone is the Alzey farmland here, where we are at today. We want to give back to the community that provides us the opportunity to train on their area. A ticket to ride on the plane, is that all Soldiers are donating a toy and at the end of the jump they will donate those toys to the local orphanage and the schools in the Alzey area.”
During the event, a U.S. Army Sgt. Leon Robinson, a paratrooper with the 5th QM-TADC, jumped out of the aircraft dressed as Santa Claus and smoothly landed at the Alzey Drop Zone. Children were excited to see and receive toys from Santa Claus.
“The biggest takeaway is seeing the children here and seeing them smile, see how happy they are that there are U.S. Army Soldiers out here giving back to the local community that gives back to us on a regular basis,” Lashley said.