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Special Forces Paratroopers to Jump over Wright-Patterson

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — If you see dozens of parachutes open over Wright-Patterson on Saturday, don't be alarmed, a base spokesman says.

Army Reserve Special Forces paratroopers will jump out of a Marine Corps C-130 in the afternoon and at night in the first training exercise of its kind over the sprawling Miami Valley base in years.

"We're not used to seeing paratroopers jumping on the base here and we did not want people to be concerned that something unusual was happening," said Bryan Ripple, a Wright-Patterson spokesman.

The Air Force wanted the public to know in advance when they see paratroopers head toward a drop zone along the base's flight line. The aerial training marks the first time since the 1990s soldiers have parachuted over Wright-Patterson.

Based in Whitehall, Ohio, the Army paratroopers are assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion and the 346th Psychological Operations Co.

Army Reserve Master Sgt. David E. Johnson said the joint exercise was an "ideal opportunity" to collaborate with the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

"It's good for the Army to work with the other services," he said.

The troops will jump out of a Marine Corps C-130 Hercules cargo plane flying in from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, officials said.

The cargo plane will make several passes as parachutists jump out of the aircraft.

Parachuting soldiers practice their skills at least four times a year, Sgt. 1st Class David R. McManaway, a jumpmaster.

Some paratroopers specialize in civil affairs, and who have deployed multiple times, act as liaisons between local populations and the military, Johnson said.

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