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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2022

U.S. Paratroopers Kick-off Super Garuda Shield with Trilateral Airborne Operations

By Sgt. Nicholle Salvatierra, 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment

BATURAJA, INDONESIA – Paratroopers from 11th Infantry Division (Airborne), Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, conducted trilateral airborne operations with the 36th Airlift Squadron during Super Garuda Airborne 2022 in Baturaja, Indonesia on Aug. 3, 2022.

Super Garuda Airborne is the kick-off event for Super Garuda Shield 2022. Super Garuda Shield is a part of Operation Pathways and a longstanding annual, bilateral military exercise conducted between the U.S. military and Indonesia National Armed Forces, reinforces the U.S. commitments to our allies, and regional partners, joint readiness, and the interoperability to fight and win together.

“We were really focusing on partnership,” said Lt. Col. Ben Wisnioski, Assistant Army Attaché, U.S. Defense Attaché Office Jakarta, Indonesia. “We focused on training, working with each other, and building significant rapport.”

Hundreds of distinguished visitors including Gen. Charles Flynn, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific, watched as over 200 paratroopers jumped into the rice fields and dense tropical forests of Baturaja.

“It was the softest landing I’ve ever had,” said Wisnioski with a smile, as he pointed at his uniform, doused in thick mud.

The paratroopers then completed an airborne seizure, navigating through narrow bridges, marshes, and dense foliage to reach their objectives.

Following the parachute portion of the operation, representatives from the three Armies participated in a wing exchange ceremony. Gen. Andika Perkasa, Commander, TNI, and Lt. Gen. Kuzuki Ushijima, Command Chief of Staff, JGSDF, pinned wings onto six U.S. Army paratroopers.

“We’re here for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Green, 2nd Platoon, Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Division (Airborne). “We’re just here to let our partners know we're here to help. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

In addition to the ceremony Soldiers from the United States, TNI, and Australian Army, showcased weapon systems to the senior leaders and distinguished visitors.

Sgt. Alexander Clarke, Mortarman, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Division, explained the functions and capabilities of the M224, 60mm Lightweight Company Mortar System (LWCMS).

“It’s just breaking down our capabilities and what makes them the best that we’ve got,” said Clarke. “I think we’re super grateful to be able to train alongside the [TNI] and get to know them better. It builds that cohesion.”

Super Garuda Shield provides opportunities for Department of Defense experimentation and Joint Collaboration. The exercise increases readiness of both to all participating nations. With focus on specific tasks, tactics, and procedures to conduct combined arms maneuver, air assault, aviation, and mission command.