Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching the 143rd Infantry Regiment, Airborne Rangers, jump onto the John Edmunds Drop Zone north of Guernsey.
The drop zone was named after Specialist John Joseph Edmunds who was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Edmunds was one of the first American causalities, killed in action, in Pakistan, Oct 19, 2001. Edmunds is one of two Americans officially killed in Pakistan as most of the fighting was in Afghanistan.
The 143rd is an elite Texas Airborne unit that has been engaged in wars all over the globe since WW1. Monday, 288 Rangers jumped in full battle ready dress, each solder and pack weighing between 300 and 350 pounds.
The entire jump was impressive, and over in 40 minutes after three passes with four military C-130 aircraft, dumping supplies on the first pass and the rangers on the next two passes.
The Jump was important enough that Camp Guernsey Garrison Commander, Col. Richard Knowlton, hosted three Generals, including, Lt. Gen (3 star) Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief - National Guard Bureau, out of the Pentagon.
For readers unfamiliar with the Guernsey Wyoming area, and Camp Guernsey, the site is a bit over 80,000 acres (125 square miles) and is a joint training site, hosting National Guard, Army and United States Air Force. The site is listed as a Regional Collective Training Capability Center, by the Army, and a Regional Training Center by the Air Force. The Camp hosts Soldiers and Airmen year-round and continues to grow.
It was a wonderful, proud, day to see how really good our soldiers are. Great that the public was allowed into the event. Word is that next year the jump will be with nearly 600 paratroopers, wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Oh- one final note, ambulances and medics were on site and the injury total was zero. Not even a twisted ankle from the 288 jumpers, these guys are good.