VICENZA, Italy -- High winds on the Adazi drop zone in Latvia forced the cancellation of the final airborne event of a major U.S. Army and Air Force exercise in the Baltics Friday.
More than 800[ U.S. Army paratroopers from Vicenza, Italy, were set to jump into Latvia Friday as the final event of Exercise Swift Response 22 – a U.S. Army Europe and Africa exercise in high north and Baltic states of the European continent. The exercise involved more than 9,000 troops from 17 countries.
The Soldiers from U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa and 173rd Airborne Brigade had parachutes on at Aviano Air Base, Italy, ready to join the fray when leaders made the call to curtail the jump in Latvia.
“Weather always has a say in what we can do,” said Col. Timothy Shaffer, director of operations for SETAF-AF. “We regretfully had to make an adjustment and could not join the Latvia forces as planned.”
However, weather in Aviano, hundreds of miles south of Latvia, presented ideal conditions for an airborne operation.
“We really quickly made coordination with Air Force and Italian authorities to open up the Frida Drop Zone in Aviano and jumped there, so we were still able to get a lot of training value out of all the planning that went into Swift Response,” Shaffer said.
Exercise Swift Response 22 also involved paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. SETAF-AF provided command and control of the airborne activities from its headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.
“SETAF-AF continues to provide critical capability to Europe and Africa,” Shaffer said.