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

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

A total of three C-130H Hercules aircraft dropped 110 paratroopers and performed an engine-running offload of an additional 20 Soldiers at 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."

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.