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Indonesia, U.S. airborne operation spotlights interoperability, enduring relationship

Indonesia, U.S. airborne operation spotlights interoperability, enduring relationship


The Indonesian National Armed Forces, known as the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), and the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division recently conducted a joint forcible entry operation (JFEO). It took place during exercises designed to enhance the U.S. military’s ability to dynamically deploy forces, build trust and interoperability with allies and partners and employ emerging multidomain capabilities through innovation and experimentation.

The JFEO featured Indonesian and U.S. Forces conducting airborne operations as part of the 15th annual Garuda Shield, a two-week exercise held in August 2021 and sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and hosted by the TNI. U.S. Pacific Air Force (PACAF) played a key role in the success of the TNI and U.S. Army airborne operations during Garuda Shield. Airborne operations are inherently complex, and the exercise also demonstrated the speed and lethality of USAPRAC and PACAF’s joint air operations. (Pictured: Airborne troops from the Indonesian National Armed Forces and the United States Army conduct a joint forcible entry operation at Baturaja Training Area, Indonesia, in August 2021.)

“This joint training exercise between our armies is very important because of the experience we are gaining from each other,” said Maj. Eko Damuna Prasetyo, deputy commander of the TNI’s 305th Airborne Battalion. “It continues to build a strong partnership and relationship.”

About 850 Indonesian Soldiers and 1,000 U.S. Soldiers participated in Garuda Shield 2021, the nations’ largest bilateral military exercise. Through training and cultural exchanges, the exercise seeks to enhance interoperability in support of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

Prasetyo said the two forces shared tactics and procedures during the exercise, which he called “a great experience that allows us to exchange our culture, our ideas and to better each other.”

Prior to the combined airborne exercise in Baturaja, Indonesia, 100 Indonesian Army paratroopers conducted training with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 18-day training included combined parachute drills and training, according to Indonesia’s Antara News Agency.

“Thank you, the U.S. Army, for the chance to hold the joint exercise code-named Garuda Airborne,” Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Andika Perkasa said before the exercise, Antara reported. “This activity is important, and I hope they will get experiences from one another.”

Such bilateral exercises strengthen relationships at the tactical, operational and strategic level, while demonstrating U.S. capability to deploy forces anywhere in the Indo-Pacific to support allies and partners in times of need.

With aviation, field training, live fire and medical exercises, Garuda Shield 2021 lived up to its theme of “Together We Can,” military leaders said.

“The most powerful thing that’s happening at Garuda Shield is relationships,” U.S. Army Col. Neal Mayo, commander of Task Force Warrior, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, said in a U.S. Army news release. “It’s about creating a partnership that goes beyond this exercise, and we’re certainly going to take advantage of every opportunity to build our combined training readiness throughout this exercise, but the foundation of it all is relationships.”

Although the two nations’ airborne operations may differ in terms of equipment or methodology, “in the end we are all paratroopers,” Prasetyo said. “We share that same bond and unique culture.”