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By Kris Osborn

The U.S Army’s 82nd Airborne Division recently jumped out of C-17 airplanes from more than 1,000-feet above the ground as part of the largest NATO training exercise since 2002.

More than 500 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne took to the skies as part of an effort to show that the crisis-response unit can operate quickly anywhere in the world, if needed, Army officials told Scout Warrior.

The multi-national operation, called Trident Juncture, was designed to demonstrate readiness and rapid response deployability for NATO troops as well as express solidarity among NATO allies.  Overall, the exercise included more than 36,000 troops from more than 34 troop-contributing NATO-member nations.

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The jump from 1,000 feet took place over Zaragoza, Spain, Army officials said. The paratroopers jumped out of Air Force C-17s which took flight from Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Part of the rationale for the exercise was to showcase the abilities of NATO’s Global Response Force, a rapid reaction unit capable of forcible entry operations, Army officials explained.

Deployability and rapid-response ability is increasingly vital for the Army as it prepares for a wide range of potentially unforeseen future conflict scenarios, some of which could require the ground war service to mobilize quickly.

The strategic airdrop was not specifically aimed at Russia or designed to address ongoing tensions with Russia regarding the fighting in Ukraine. While the paratroopers were certainly aware of the context in which they were conducting their exercise, the exercise was not aimed at Russia persay, Army officials told Scout Warrior.

“We’re just training as a Global Response Force,” an Army official told Scout Warrior.