Joint-Exercise Double Eagle wraps up in Serbia
By Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 27, 2017
“This exercise is important because it builds the readiness of both our militaries,” said Lieutenant General John Gronski, Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe. “When you have a ready military a region can be more stable and secure.”
The Serbian government invited the U.S. to train with their forces in order to strengthen both countries’ emergency response capabilities, thereby helping secure regional security and peace.
Double Eagle developed from the U.S. and Serbia’s shared commitment to regional security, and the importance of the Balkan region to that security.
Two C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base’s 37th Airlift Squadron brought approximately 120 U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Batajnica to train on jump procedures together. Serbia contributed 60 paratroopers. The two countries spent five days conducting multiple airborne insertions via the C-130Js.
Gronski commented on the first jump the forces conducted together.
“I hear the exercise went really well yesterday,” Gronski said. “I know the soldiers certainly enjoyed being able to conduct and airborne insertion together and we call that a success.”
Working together isn’t only about two countries learning to perform together; it’s about connecting personally, professionally and tactically.
Teamwork provides the opportunity to build strong and strategic relationships. The U.S. and Serbia hope that the bonds they build will help them create stronger, more capable forces who can find solutions together. That trust may be essential to securing global security.
In the spirit of partnership, U.S. forces kicked off Double Eagle by opening up a static display of one of the two C-130Js on Batajnica. Military representatives from a variety of countries, such as Bulgaria, Russia and Switzerland, as well as approximately 15 Serbian media representatives toured the aircraft.
U.S. soldiers and Serbian jumpers conducted joint pre-jump training and Jumpmaster coordination together at the Stevica Jovanovic Barracks before they jumped together the next day.
The exercise wrapped up with a public airborne insertion event. Serbian and U.S. paratroopers parachuted onto Lisicji Jarak Air Port in front of an audience including President Aleksandar Vucic, President of Serbia, Kyle Scott, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian Minister of Defense, and representatives from all major Serbian media outlets.
“We have conducted military exercises in the past before this exercise, and we want to continue to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Serbia,” Gronski said.