From 6 to 19 September more than 50 paratroopers of the brigade thunderbolt and a C 130 J of the 46th air brigade participated in the international aviation exercise Falcon Leap 2021 held in Holland, lead nation of the event, in the Arnhem area.
More than 1.000 paratroopers from armies of 12 different nations took part in the event, which was held with the utmost attention to current health regulations, giving life to the most important exercise of the "airborne community" within NATO.
The exercise is organized annually to commemorate the “Market Garden” operation which took place in September 1944 in this area of the Netherlands and which saw the highest number of airborne troops of the entire Second World War as protagonist.
The first training week was dedicated to the launch of loads, containers and equipment of various kinds. In this phase, the Italian participation has materialized with the aircraft suppliers of the Parachuting Training Center of Pisa, who compared techniques and procedures with foreign colleagues.
In the following week the Italian paratroopers, who arrived in Eindhoven aboard a C-130 J of the Italian Air Force, joined the organization of the Dutch colleagues of the 11 ^ Air Assault Brigade of the Royal Netherlands Army, launching with various types of parachutes on 4 different launch zones and jumping from aircraft in formation shoulder to shoulder with the American, Polish, Greek, German, Czech, French and obviously Dutch peers.
Also included in the exercise are TCL jumps (Free Fall Technique), some of which performed in tandem.
Furthermore, in the broad context of a multinational exchange of parachuting patents, a nucleus of launch directors from the “Folgore” brigade launched colleagues of various nationalities from the Italian C 130 J.
Particularly significant was the day of Saturday 18 September, dedicated to the commemoration of the "Market Garden" operation and which saw the citizens of Arnhem arrive in drop zone Y to witness the mass launch and warmly welcome the paratroopers who, once landed, headed towards the reorder point. This characteristic closing ceremony was accompanied by the presence of reenactors dressed and equipped with materials of the time and who tangibly highlighted the importance of historical memory.
The activity ended to the satisfaction of all the participants. The paratroopers of the Italian Army were able to increase their wealth of experience and at the same time concretely confront themselves in the context of airborne community on the peculiar characteristics of the airborne troops.