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Japan, U.S. conduct historic parachute exercise

The largest airborne parachute exercise in the history of the U.S.-Japan military alliance, involving over 500 paratroopers, was conducted this week in Japan. Photo by Yasuo Osakabe/U.S. Air Force
The largest airborne parachute exercise in the history of the U.S.-Japan military alliance, involving over 500 paratroopers, was conducted this week in Japan. Photo by Yasuo Osakabe/U.S. Air Force

March 12 (UPI) -- An airborne parachute exercise this week in Japan was the largest in the history of the U.S.-Japanese alliance, the U.S. Air Force reported on Friday.

Over 500 paratroopers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's 1st Airborne Brigade performed a static-line jump from 12 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft of the U.S. Air Force's 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

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The one-day personnel drop at the Combined Arms Training Center Drop Zone in Camp Fuji, Japan, was the largest in the two countries' alliance, and was followed two days later by a cargo drop of 134 container delivery system bundles.

The three-day exercise, named Airborne 21, was deemed a success.

"The main purpose of this operation was to demonstrate the JGSDF's capability to employ airborne insertion anywhere in the country of Japan," Capt. Christopher Espinosa, Airborne 21 mission commander, said in a press release.

"It was a great training opportunity to take lessons learned and how we can advance in our training in the future and also it was an effective example of a deterrent to some of our peer adversaries," said Espinosa.

While the exercise involved the largest number of Japanese troops, it was not the first such jump.

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Two U.S. Air Force C-130Js, with Army paratroopers stationed in Alaska onboard, flew from Yokota Air Base to Tsuiki Air Base in 2018 to collect 80 Japanese paratroopers, who jumped from the planes.

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