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Bragg, British paratroopers launch major joint training exercise

Posted April 13, 2015
Updated April 14, 2015

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— After a month of training with British soldiers, paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division on Monday began the largest combined training exercise at Fort Bragg in at least 20 years to show what they have learned.

Heavy equipment was loaded on C-17 cargo planes and dropped Monday night along with about 2,000 members of the 82nd Airborne and Britain's Advanced Airborne unit for the Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise, or C-JOE-EX.

About 30 soldiers participating in the training suffered minor injuries during the exercises.

"It's essential that we build this partnership, we build the interoperability with our multinational partners before called into a crisis region," said Lt. Col. Ken Burgess of the 82nd Airborne.

The exercise calls for 82nd Airborne members to jump into a "country" and secure an airfield. Their British counterparts are expected to do the same and extract "non-combatant residents" and get them to safety.

The soldiers have already made several jumps together using each other's parachutes. This week's training marks the culmination of learning how to work together in a real-world combat scenario.

"They've got a scenario. They've been working up an intelligence picture. They've had to plan for the enemy forces they plan to encounter on the ground," said Capt. Nick Burdick of Britain's 16th Air Assault Brigade. "A lot that is figuring out what logistic support they're going to need, what air support they're going to need, how they're going to get resupplied. Obviously, the first troops will be parachuted in, and of course, it's very important that they are resupplied quite quickly so they can carry on and bounce to futre missions."

Marines at Camp Lejeune also planned to launch military operations Monday night in conjunction with the training.

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