Kentucky and Georgia Air Guard drop 82nd Airborne for NATO exercise Noble Ledger

By Master Sgt. Charles Delano, 165th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Aircrews from the Kentucky and Georgia Air National Guard pose with their C-130 aircraft and paratroopers assigned to the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and the 5th Quartermaster Company, as well as paratroopers from the Netherlands, Britain and Poland, at Eindhoven Air Base, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014. The Air Guardsmen flew the paratroopers as they completed a historic jump onto Tango Drop Zone in Groesbeek, Netherlands, to commemorate the World War II assault conducted by Allied forces 70 years ago during Operation Market Garden. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger)

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GARDERMOEN, Norway — Airmen from the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing and the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing transported 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers to an airfield outside of Oslo, Norway, Sept. 23 as part of Operation Noble Ledger.

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U.S., British, Dutch and Polish troops parachute from a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 near Groesbeek, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014, as part of the 70th-anniversary re-enactment of Operation Market Garden. The historic World War II mission was, at the time, the largest airborne assault ever conducted. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles Delano)

A total of three C-130H Hercules aircraft airdropped 110 paratroopers and performed an engine-running offload of an additional 20 Soldiers to a drop zone in Rena, Norway.

Noble Ledger tested the cohesiveness of about 6,500 U.S., German, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch soldiers in the field. The multinational cadre is part of a larger 13,000 member NATO Response Force that conducts humanitarian and armed conflict missions throughout NATO countries.

The 82nd Airborne’s mission for the exercise consisted of seizing an enemy-occupied zone and holding it for 24 hours until reinforcements arrived, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Dave Flynn, a pilot with the Kentucky Air Guard.

“The airlift portion of Noble Ledger is important because it provides the Army with realistic logistics for delivering Soldiers to combat zones,” Flynn said. “It reflects the synergy the Air National Guard provides to the Total Force.”

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A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 banks over Groesbeek, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014, after deploying U.S., British, Dutch and Polish paratroopers as part of the 70th-anniversary re-enactment of Operation Market Garden. The historic World War II mission was, at the time, the largest airborne assault ever conducted. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles Delano)

For the Airmen of the 165th and 123rd Airlift Wings, the exercise provided another opportunity to airdrop paratroopers into an unfamiliar drop zone. The aircrews conducted previous airdrops in September as part of a re-enactment of the World War II paratrooper assault known as Operation Market Garden.

“I am thrilled to have participated in the two airdrops in the Netherlands which honored the World War II paratroopers and also for providing air support for this important NATO exercise,” said Air Force Capt. Alan Ratliff, a Georgia Air Guard pilot.

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