Air Force Assists Army During Saber Junction 18


U.S. Air Force aircraft engines roar through the air, as pilots look for the marked drop zone.

U.S. and Italian soldiers wait to load onto a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Allies and partners use the opportunity provided by the exercises to work through their own training objectives while also working on interoperability solutions. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
U.S. and Italian soldiers wait to load onto a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Allies and partners use the opportunity provided by the exercises to work through their own training objectives while also working on interoperability solutions. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
U.S. and Italian soldiers wait to load onto a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Allies and partners use the opportunity provided by the exercises to work through their own training objectives while also working on interoperability solutions. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
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U.S. and Italian soldiers wait to load onto a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Allies and partners use the opportunity provided by the exercises to work through their own training objectives while also working on interoperability solutions. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz

And, in the back of the aircraft, U.S. Army paratroopers, along with paratroopers from four other nations, eagerly wait for the exit signal to appear above the cargo door.

“GO! GO! GO,” a jumpmaster screams as the jump light changes from red to green.

The airborne service members are participating in Exercise Saber Junction 18.

Saber Junction 18 is part of an annual U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise series that’s designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade to execute unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations.

While USAREUR led the charge during the exercise, U.S. Air Forces in Europe provided the airlift capability with C-130H Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster aircraft to assist the Army in completing their training objectives.

An Italian soldier carries his gear to board a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
An Italian soldier carries his gear to board a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
An Italian soldier carries his gear to board a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz
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An Italian soldier carries his gear to board a C-17 Globemaster III as part of Exercise Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Schultz

"The Air Force has been a huge help," said U.S. Army Maj. J. Christopher Giorgi, Saber Junction 18 lead planner. "You can't do joint force entry without the airlift component."

With aircraft support from USAFE, thousands of troops from the 173rd dropped within a few hours to commence a large-scale exercise.

"Airmen have been integrated since day one of planning to assist," Giorgi said. "With this integration, we can put an air brigade behind enemy lines within 18 hours. I don't believe many others can do that."

The American service members will be exercising alongside 19 ally and partner nations to increase operational efficiency.