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Members of the 57th Rescue Squadron parachuted onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15 and Feb 16, 2018. It was the first time the base had been used as a drop zone since 1996. A pararescuer is shown here during a drop Friday morning.

Members of the 57th Rescue Squadron parachuted onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15 and Feb 16, 2018. It was the first time the base had been used as a drop zone since 1996. A pararescuer is shown here during a drop Friday morning. (Andrew Satran/U.S. Air Force)

Members of the 57th Rescue Squadron parachuted onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15 and Feb 16, 2018. It was the first time the base had been used as a drop zone since 1996. A pararescuer is shown here during a drop Friday morning.

Members of the 57th Rescue Squadron parachuted onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15 and Feb 16, 2018. It was the first time the base had been used as a drop zone since 1996. A pararescuer is shown here during a drop Friday morning. (Andrew Satran/U.S. Air Force)

A C-130 from Ramstein Air Base's 86th Airlift Wing dropped pararescuers from the 57th Rescue Squadron onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on the morning of Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.

A C-130 from Ramstein Air Base's 86th Airlift Wing dropped pararescuers from the 57th Rescue Squadron onto Aviano Air Base, Italy, on the morning of Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (Andrew Satran/U.S. Air Force)

A C-130 aircraft from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, touches down on the runway at Aviano Air Base, italy, after dropping personnel from the 57th Rescue Squadron onto the base. The unit, currrently based in England, is set to relocate to Aviano early this summer.

A C-130 aircraft from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, touches down on the runway at Aviano Air Base, italy, after dropping personnel from the 57th Rescue Squadron onto the base. The unit, currrently based in England, is set to relocate to Aviano early this summer. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, passes over Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, after taking part in a rare jump onto the base itself.

A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, passes over Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, after taking part in a rare jump onto the base itself. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is dwarfed by the snow-capped mountains near Aviano Air Base, Italy, as it passes by during a jump onto the base on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.

A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is dwarfed by the snow-capped mountains near Aviano Air Base, Italy, as it passes by during a jump onto the base on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — The 57th Rescue Squadron doesn’t officially move to this air base from its home in England until later this year. But that didn’t stop some personnel from exploring their new digs this week.

That included personnel taking advantage of C-130 aircraft from Ramstein Air Base’s 86th Airlift Wing to make a rare jump onto the base – believed to be the first in more than two decades.

Aviano serves as the launching pad for regular training for the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza. But the “Sky Soldiers” generally use the designated landing zone outside the town of Vajont about 15 miles away.

The jumps by the 57th personnel – two on Thursday and one on Friday – took place thanks to clearance and cooperation with the Italian air force.

The 56th and 57th squadrons will bring their Pave Hawk helicopters with them when they move in Aviano in a few months, but they are also expected to train with the 173rd and Italian allies in various aircraft.

harris.kent@stripes.com

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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