Paratroopers from 11th Infantry Division (Airborne), Indonesian Army, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, conducted trilateral airborne operations with the 36th Airlift Squadron during Super Garuda Airborne 2022 in Baturaja, Indonesia on Aug. 3, 2022. Super Garuda Airborne is the kick-off event for Super Garuda Shield 2022. Super Garuda Shield is a part of Operation Pathways and a longstanding annual, bilateral military exercise conducted between the U.S. military and Indonesia National Armed Forces, reinforces the U.S. commitments to our allies, and regional partners, joint readiness, and the interoperability to fight and win together.
“We were really focusing on partnership. We focused on training, working with each other, and building significant rapport. It was the softest landing I’ve ever had,” said Lt. Col. Ben Wisnioski, Assistant Army Attaché, U.S. Defense Attaché Office Jakarta, Indonesia with a smile, as he pointed at his uniform, doused in thick mud.
“We’re here for a free and open Indo-Pacific. We’re just here to let our partners know we’re here to help. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Green, 2nd Platoon, Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Division (Airborne).
Hundreds of distinguished visitors including Gen. Charles Flynn, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific, watched as over 200 paratroopers jumped into the rice fields and dense tropical forests of Baturaja. The paratroopers then completed an airborne seizure, navigating through narrow bridges, marshes, and dense foliage to reach their objectives. Following the parachute portion of the operation, representatives from the three Armies participated in a wing exchange ceremony. Gen. Andika Perkasa, Commander, Indonesian Armed Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI), and Lt. Gen. Kuzuki Ushijima, Command Chief of Staff, JGSDF, pinned wings onto six U.S. Army paratroopers.
Garuda Shield is a two-week joint-exercise between the United States Army and Indonesian Army. In April 2022, a new Garuda Shield joint-exercise has been announced, which will involve 14 countries, making it the largest edition of Garuda Shield since it was established in 2009. In addition to the ceremony Soldiers from the United States, Indonesian Army, and Australian Army, showcased weapon systems to the senior leaders and distinguished visitors. Super Garuda Shield provides opportunities for Department of Defense experimentation and Joint Collaboration. The exercise increases readiness of both to all participating nations. With focus on specific tasks, tactics, and procedures to conduct combined arms maneuver, air assault, aviation, and mission command.