This story was written by Staff Sgt. Anthony Bryant
TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina – A Special Forces military free-fall detachment assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) performed airborne operations from June 21 – 24, 2023, to demonstrate military-to-military cooperation with the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina (AFBiH).
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) conduct military free-fall airborne operations when enemy air defense systems, terrain restrictions, or a politically sensitive environment prevent low-altitude infiltration or when mission needs require a clandestine insertion.
“We were able to bring [AFBiH Joint Terminal Attack Controllers] out onto the drop zone and show them what talking to an aircraft looks like while conducting a military free-fall operation,” said the Special Forces team sergeant. “Every step of the way, our [military free-fall] operations included aircraft communication between AFBiH JTACs and reconnaissance elements.”
CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters assigned to 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, provided air support to the military free-fall detachment.
“We conducted one jump at 13,500 feet; the rest of our jumps were conducted at 10,000 feet above ground altitude,” the team sergeant continued. “We have the capability of exiting an aircraft as high as 30,000 feet above the ground with the ability to deploy our parachutes as low as 5,000 feet, allowing us to maximize airspace away from that drop zone thus masking my aircraft and protecting my jumpers.”
For the airborne operation, a drop zone safety officer (DZSO) party, composed of U.S. SOF personnel from Kosovo, monitored surface winds, marked the drop zone indicating wind direction to descending parachutists, and eliminated ground hazards.
Military free-fall operations showcased U.S. Forces positioned around Europe coming together to participate in the engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina highlighting the benefit of conducting bilateral airborne operations and maintaining military proficiencies while deployed, noted the detachment commander.
U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Michael J. Murphy observed the detachment’s airborne operations from the drop zone.
The detachment commander also said that an intriguing aspect of the airborne operation was seeing how a U.S. Embassy country team, working alongside the U.S. Army, could achieve combined tactical training in-country.
Ambassador Murphy is supportive of the detachment and furthermore, U.S. SOF, he continued. Training events like military free-fall airborne operations demonstrate the United States’ rock-solid commitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.