'Ode to Joy'

'Ode to Joy'

May 10, 2011

Marines help Romanians refine jump skills during Black Sea Rotational Force

After a safety brief from Romanian jumpmasters, Romanian paratroopers training with Black Sea Rotational Force 11 make preparations to board a KC-130 Hercules, with flight support by BSRF-11's Air Combat Element. U.S. Marine and Romanian jumpmasters conducted combat jump operations at Camp Turzii recently, about 260 miles north of Mihail Kogalniceanu, to share experience and give Romanian troops the opportunity to jump from a KC-130. (Photo by Cpl Tatum Vayavananda)
By Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda, Black Sea Rotational Force 


CAMPIA TURZII, Romania  — Romanian special operations paratroopers, with the help of U.S. Marine jumpmasters, conduct parachute operations from a KC-130 Hercules into the open fields of Camp Turzii as part of a combined forces parachute combat jump operation for Black Sea Rotational Force 11.

The Romanian paratroopers conducted training operations with two types of military jumps: low-level, static-line combat jumps and High-Altitude, Low-Opening (HALO) military free-fall, said Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Z. Smith, jumpmaster, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. While not in an instructor role, U.S. jumpmasters were observing the Romanian procedures and practices to ensure the jump operations were conducted safely.

“The Romanians are very capable, competent and confident in what they do,” said Smith. The techniques, tactics and procedures and guidelines they follow are pretty similar to U.S. paratroop doctrine, he added.

“It is important for us to come to know the U.S. standard procedure,” said Romanian Col. Adrian Ciolponea, the commander for the Romanian Special Operations Regiment. Learning U.S. procedures can assists more interoperability in difference scenarios, he added.

“Their operating procedures seem to be in line with ours and it helps with the language barrier because there can be less explaining of things since they are right on track,” said Gunnery Sgt. Darren D. Wainer, jumpmaster of BSRF-11.

At an altitude of 3,500 feet, once the hatch is open,the U.S. jumpmaster does a safety check to confirm that everything is safe for jumps, said Wainer. Afterwards, the Romanian jumpmaster mirrors the check and confirms that everything is “good-to-go.”

“Observing their actions in the aircraft makes sure everything is safe throughout,” said Wainer.

“The airborne aspect is important because you never know when you’ll need it and it’s better to have it ready than not have one,” said Ciolponea. There is a lot of training to maintain the skill set, specific risks involved and it’s not something you can build quickly without constantly training, he added.

“This is not an opportunity you get to have every day,” said Smith. Although the U.S. performs combined forces jump operations with other countries as well, “it’s nice to work with a force that’s so professional and so proficient,” he said.


“The Romanians are great. Their equipment is on par with ours, and they do an awesome job,” said Smith. The jump operations for BSRF-11 will hopefully set the tempo and expansion for next year’s rotation, he added.

“I think it’s good anytime we get to do any cross-training with NATO partners” said Wainer.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to work with them professionally and get to know them personally,” he said, “I think it’s a great group and it’s going to be a good deployment every time we get to work with them.”

We will always welcome U.S. to help us anytime, said Ciolponea.

“You can always be assured that you have a partner over here that is willing to work with you and be deployed with you to any area,” said Ciolponea. Despite the different cultural aspects, we realize that we can become friends and we have similar occupations and personalities, he added.
While flying at an 10,000 feet, two Romanian paratroopers fling themselves off a KC-130 Hercules and into the open air toward the patched landscape below while conducting a High-Altitude, Low-Opening (HALO) combat jump as part of parachute operations with Black Sea Rotational Force 11. U.S. Marine and Romanian jumpmasters conducted combat jump operations at Camp Turzii recently, about 260 miles north of Mihail Kogalniceanu, to share experience and give Romanian troops the opportunity to jump from a KC-130.

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