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Airborne troops from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment  parachute into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. Around 300 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the United States' 501st Infantry Regiment made the jump.

Airborne troops from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment parachute into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. Around 300 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the United States' 501st Infantry Regiment made the jump. (W. Guthrie/Courtesy Australian Department of Defence)

Airborne troops from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment  parachute into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. Around 300 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the United States' 501st Infantry Regiment made the jump.

Airborne troops from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment parachute into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. Around 300 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the United States' 501st Infantry Regiment made the jump. (W. Guthrie/Courtesy Australian Department of Defence)

Master Sgt. Adam Smith, U.S. Army Pacific Exercise Division, observes paratroopers from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment descend into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday. Smith was the lead planner for the drop, overseeing the event from start to finish. Around 300 soldiers jumped for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 on 17 July.

Master Sgt. Adam Smith, U.S. Army Pacific Exercise Division, observes paratroopers from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment descend into Drop Zone Kapyong on Sunday. Smith was the lead planner for the drop, overseeing the event from start to finish. Around 300 soldiers jumped for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 on 17 July. (W. Guthrie/Courtesy Australian Department of Defence)

U.S. Army Sgt. Ian Rhines and Australian Craftsman Tyler Kernahan watch the airborne insertion of US troops Sunday from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment into Drop Zone Kapyong as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011.

U.S. Army Sgt. Ian Rhines and Australian Craftsman Tyler Kernahan watch the airborne insertion of US troops Sunday from the 1st/501st Infantry Regiment into Drop Zone Kapyong as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011. (W. Guthrie/Courtesy Australian Department of Defence)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The skies over Queensland, Australia, were dotted with Airborne soldiers Sunday, as approximately 300 paratroops simulated taking an airfield as a part of Talisman Sabre 2011.

The paratroops were joined by Australia forces as part of the bi-annual military and humanitarian exercise, according to Air Force Capt. Rebecca Heyse, a spokeswoman for the Talisman Sabre Combined Joint Information Bureau.

The soldiers, assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team and 6th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, arrived at Shoalwater Bay Training Area after an 18-hour flight from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The four C-17s used to transport them had to be refueled twice over the Pacific while en route.

“The inherent flexibility and performance of the C-17 force improves the ability of the total airlift system to fulfill the worldwide air mobility requirements of the United States,” Heyse said.

The paratroops — about 70 per C-17 — descended to the ground carrying their personal bags, weapons and additional cargo needed for the mission. The airfield was secured by the initial landing units and held as more paratroops poured in, Heyse said in an email.

The operation was a success, Heyse said, despite losing one of the C-17s to a mechanical issue prior to taking off from Alaska.

Heyse declined to comment on any simulated resistance. Emergency personnel were on site to ensure that any injuries sustained during the operation could be dealt with quickly.

“Anytime a unit can conduct training, the goal is to ensure the training is as realistic as possible to what a unit may encounter during a deployment while keeping safety in mind,” Heyse said.

According to Heyse, the paratroops are on their way back to Alaska where they will depart for pre-deployment training in a few days prior to deployment to Afghanistan.

The exercises are scheduled to continue through the end of this month. Some 22,000 personnel from the U.S., Australia and Canada are taking part.

burkem@pstripes.osd.mil

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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.
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