Look, it’s a Guardian Angel! RAF Lakenheath soldiers parachute from the sky in military exercise
- Credit: Archant
Many people hope they will see the day when a Guardian Angel falls from the sky.
And that's what happened at a NATO air base when a US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) team of soldiers from RAF Lakenheath parachuted out of an aeroplane flying 10,000ft in the air.
The servicemen from the 57th Rescue Squadron - who are called the Guardian Angels - made the daring leaps as part of a military training exercise at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy.
The exercise, called Ares Shadow, also involved airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing and the 352nd Special Operations Wing, as well as members of the Italian armed forces.
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'Exercises like Ares Shadow improve interoperability and improve the relationship with our partners here in USAFE,' said Lt Col Jose Cabrera, 57th Rescue Squadron commander.
'It gives us a chance to work together, which we don't have often since we train usually on our own. It's only in exercises like this where we train together.'
During the exercise between August 8 and 11, 57th RQS pararescuemen and combat rescue officers performed static-line and high-altitude, low-opening jumps, as well as jumps with the Italian navy. During one jump, a Guardian Angel team practised rescuing a downed pilot.
'It was unique in the sense that it gave us an opportunity to employ our long-range rescue capabilities,' said Lt Col Cabrera.
'We launched from Lakenheath on a C-130 and parachuted in a Guardian Angel team in Aviano to execute the recovery of downed airman. That team and the survivor were recovered by an Italian HH-101 helicopter.
'It gave us an opportunity to work with the host nation here, compare and contrast and work on our interoperability to be able to perform personnel recovery in the USAFE.'
The event was designed to give the rescue squadron a taste of what is to come in the summer of 2018, when they are scheduled to move to Aviano Air Base.
'Being able to come out here and train with the Italians a year ahead of time gives us the opportunity to figure out how the ranges here in Italy work, how the procedures for airdrop operations work and also what capabilities are out here that we can share with the Italians and the army paratroopers,' said Lt Col Cabrera.
'This is the first time we have executed a jump with any Italian unit,' said Major Nick Morgans, 57th RQS Detachment 1 commander.
'As the 57th Rescue Squadron transitions from Lakenheath to Aviano, we will continue to pursue further jump operations and other training operations with the Italian air force.'