Story and Photos by Lee Rials, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Dec. 15, 2017) — Soldiers from the US. Army, Allied Partners and the Canadian Army exchanged airborne jump wings and gifts during the 2017 1-507th Parachute Infantry Regiment Toy Drop and Foreign Wing Exchange on Nov. 29-30 at Fort Benning.
The Soldiers earned their foreign jump wings when they conducted a combined jump as part of the Toy Drop, an annual event to support Santa’s Castle, a non-profit organization that gives toys at Christmastime.
Soldiers from the Canadian Army awarded their counterparts Canadian jump wings during the ceremony.
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation participated in the Toy Drop for its first time, with LTC Ivan Salgado, CPT Miguel Moyeno, 1SG Ernesto Lopez and two Brazilian Partner-Nation Instructors, Navy Lt Cdr Rafael Nachard and Navy SGM Sergio Aragon Carrasco, making the jumps.
Salgado is the Director of the School of Leadership and Tactics, Moyeno is an Assistant S-3, and Lopez is the HHC First Sergeant.
U.S. personnel from WHINSEC got the opportunity because LTG Michael Lundy, Combined Arms Center Commanding General, gave permission for qualified U.S. airborne personnel to do parachute jumps with international partners.
For Soldiers to be awarded foreign wings, they must meet two of the four requirements: exit a foreign aircraft during a jump; use foreign equipment such as parachutes; be inspected and coached by foreign jumpmasters; or exit the aircraft on foreign airspace.
Foreign Wing Exchanges allow for Soldiers of different armies to show their respect for each other and their common profession, cultivate multinational interoperability, and build esprit de corps.
About the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation: WHINSEC opened in 2001 to provide professional education and training to eligible persons of the nations of the Western Hemisphere within the context of the democratic principles set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States. A Department of Defense institute run by the U.S. Army, it excels in fostering mutual knowledge, transparency, confidence, and cooperation and in promoting democratic values, respect for human rights, and an understanding of U.S. customs and traditions. The institute has the most extensive democracy, ethics and human rights training in all of DoD. For more information on WHINSEC, please visit www.benning.army.mil/tenant/whinsec