Subscribe
This story has been corrected.
A soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade unpacks and assembles an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle after they were dropped by parachute from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022.

A soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade unpacks and assembles an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle after they were dropped by parachute from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

HOHENFELS, Germany − The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough to parachute a howitzer and a tactical vehicle out the back of a plane.

The drop at the sprawling Hohenfels Training Area in Bavaria came courtesy of an Air Force C-130 cargo plane during Saber Junction, an exercise that tests the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s ability to move fast and work with 13 other allied nations.

Poor weather has delayed some of the airborne training for the exercise, which began Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 20. But Army officials say the soldiers still have been able to successfully insert people and equipment into the drop zones.

Coordinating and communicating with service members from so many other countries also is a key focus.

“We can never get enough opportunity work with our NATO allies and partners,” said Col. Tim Shaffer, officer in charge of training for Southern European Task Force, Africa.

Soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade gather parachutes that dropped an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. The heavy equipment was dropped using five separate parachutes and packaged with cardboard to soften the landing.

Soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade gather parachutes that dropped an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. The heavy equipment was dropped using five separate parachutes and packaged with cardboard to soften the landing. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

An M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle are dropped from a C-130 aircraft during exercise Saber Junction at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. The exercise tests the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s ability to move heavy equipment.

An M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle are dropped from a C-130 aircraft during exercise Saber Junction at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. The exercise tests the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s ability to move heavy equipment. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade unpack and assemble an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle they were deployed from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022.

Soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade unpack and assemble an M119A3 howitzer and a tactical vehicle they were deployed from a C-130 aircraft at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers prepare for an aerial drop of heavy equipment at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. Soldiers had to adapt to changing weather conditions while awaiting the drop.

Soldiers prepare for an aerial drop of heavy equipment at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, Sept. 8, 2022. Soldiers had to adapt to changing weather conditions while awaiting the drop. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

The responsibility for executing the exercise lies with the Bavaria-based 7th Army Training Command.

The airborne brigade is based in Vicenza, Italy. It made the the journey to Germany on seven hours’ notice to add realism.

About 4,400 participants from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and the United Kingdom are part of the exercise.

Correction

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Saber Junction exercise had been canceled last year. Also, it should have said that the 7th Army Training Command continues to operate the exercise.

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up