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Category: Operations (page 1 of 49)

Leapfest 2016 – International Airborne Competition

As its National Airborne Day, it seems fitting to post our wrap-up of this year’s Leapfest today – hard to believe it was already a week ago that the skies over southern Rhode Island were full of parachutes…

National Airborne Day on Aug. 16 honors the occassion of the first official parachute jump of the US Army, conducted on this date in 1940, by the volunteer Soldiers of the Parachute Test Platoon.  Other nations had already established Airborne Forces even before the US of course, including Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and even France.  The Canadian Army established its first airborne unit in July 1942.

tumblr_mtvd5tILoU1s57vgxo4_r2_1280Red Army paratroops ‘jump’ from the wing of a Tupolev bomber in an exercise during the 1930’s.

Military parachuting has come a long way since those early experimental drops, and many lessons were also learned the hard way from the combat parachute drops during the Second World War.  Today’s Paratroops jump from turbo-prop and jet-powered aircraft as well as helicopters using either a static-line to automatically deploy their parachute, or by freefalling and then manually pulling a so-called ‘rip cord’ to deploy their ‘chute – and modern parachutes also come with non-steerable and steerable round canopies for normal operations, or highly-manueverable ‘ram-air’ square canopies for special operations.

t-11-parachute-001Current-day US Army Paratroopers jump from a C-130 using the new, cruciform-shape canopied T-11 non-steerable parachute.  The T-11 system has replaced the T-10 parachute that was in use for over 50 years.

Leapfest is the largest, longest standing, international static-line parachute competition. It is hosted each year by the 56th Troop Command of the Rhode Island Army National Guard to promote training and esprit de corps within the international airborne community.

DSCN2499The team from the Czech Republic walk off the Drop Zone after a jump.

Leapfest is both an individual and team event – each jumper must complete 2 jumps to be qualified for the individual award, and each team must complete 8 jumps in total to be qualified for the team award.  Each team consists of 5 participants: 4 jumpers and 1 alternate jumper.

DSCN2562The combined teams from the Italian Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabinieri pose for a group photo.

Jumpers exit from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 1500 feet (457 meters) using an MC-6 static line deployed, steerable, parabolic parachute and aim to land as close as possible to a marked, designated ‘X-marks-the-spot’ on the Drop Zone.

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Direct Action SPITFIRE Plate Carrier Cutaway System

The latest product video from Direct Action gear is now live on their YouTube Channel.

SPITFIRE Cutaway System

This system provides for the immediate cutaway release of the SPITFIRE Plate Carrier. Its innovative design and allows for quick and easy reassembly of the Plate Carrier without the cutaway elements. Created with primarily with waterborne operations in mind, the SPITFIRE Cutaway System also allows for immediate battlefield assessment and treatment of a wounded team-mate, and then quickly and easily reconfiguring and reassembling the wounded person’s Plate Carrier for armor protection during transportation / evacuation.

To order within the European area:

To order within the US / North American area:

Leapfest 2016 is coming!

The Leapfest International Static Line Parachute Competition 2016 is now less than a week away!  Watch out of our event coverage to start this coming Saturday.

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The Capture of Aqaba

On 6 July 1917 Lawrence of Arabia captured the port town of Aqaba in perhaps one of the greatest coups of the First World War.  He had left the Arab camp at Wejh on 9 May, embarking on an epic expedition across some of the worst desert terrain in Arabia. As they approached Aqaba their ranks swelled with friendly tribesmen, numbering over 1,000 men when they finally took the town.


In the summer of 1917, T. E. Lawrence and the Arab leaders recognized the importance of seizing the port of Aqaba in order to secure a port and base on the northern Red Sea coast that could in turn facilitate further campaigns into Palestine and Syria.  Accompanied by a party of tribesmen and Auda abu Tayi, the hereditary war chief of the warlike Howeitat tribe, Lawrence led a small force on an epic two-month march through the desert. After a clash with a Turkish battalion at Abu al-Lissan, the Arab force took the surrender of some of the outlying garrisons and finally took Aqaba on 6 July 1917.

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Friday Foto


French and Gabonese paratroopers execute an airborne operation during exercise ‘Central Accord 2016’ at Pointe Denis in Gabon, June 23, 2016.  The U.S. Army Africa’s exercise ‘Central Accord’ is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations.

U.S. Army photo by Spc. Audrequez Evans

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