US paratroops stage massive jump

AP News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2011 10:44 AM
US paratroops stage massive jump

More than 1,000 U.S. paratroops have jumped out over the Hohenfels training area in Germany in a massive airborne training operation.

The exercise Wednesday pitted soldiers from the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade in a mock-battle scenario with a battalion of Slovakian soldiers and other American troops.

The Army says not only are its soldiers now training with former Eastern bloc enemies now in NATO, but the operation also represents a change from exercises designed to prepare for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As the operations in those countries draw down, the military says it's starting again to focus some training on fighting conventional enemy forces instead of counterinsurgency operations.

It's the 173rd's first brigade-sized operation since they parachuted into Iraq in 2003.