March members and German Army Airborne School team up

  • Published
  • By Ms. Ashley Van Dien
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

The German Army Airborne School conducted tandem skydive training with March Air Reserve Base team members in Perris, Calif., Nov.  20-27, 2018. More than eighty Team March personnel had the opportunity to experience tandem skydive jumps free of charge. Some participants even jumped twice in one day. Thirty-five German army soldiers visited the area to conduct a variety of training exercises, concluding with the tandem instructors’ course in Perris, Calif. Southern California offers amicable weather conditions for the German students and their instructors to conduct training. The mutually beneficial exercise fortifies interoperability between global partners.

“This is a good opportunity to strengthen our international relationship,” said German jump instructor Patrick Bonneik. “The joint training is beneficial to us because we don’t have to fly out our own passengers from Germany, and we are happy to offer March troops a chance to skydive.”

The German army briefed March tandem passengers on all safety measures, including exiting and landing procedures. After donning their helmets and harnesses, the March skydivers and German military members loaded into a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, nicknamed “The Shark” due to its eclectic paint job. The international crew climbed to 12,000 feet altitude and the plane steadied for disembarkation. Securely strapped to the front of their German army counterparts, Team March members kept their legs together, hips forward, and heads back as they sat in the door of the aircraft awaiting the signal for launch. High above the Inland Empire, each tandem pair exited the aircraft and jumped into a one-minute free fall. Then the German paratroopers deployed the parachutes, and each pair floated down safely after enjoying aerial views of the surrounding lakes, mountains, cities and March Air Field.

The German Army Airborne School has been conducting tandem skydive training with March since 2015. The team travels to the area twice a year and is scheduled to return in January 2019.