The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), in Fort Polk, Louisiana, is the setting for the joint exercise that Brazil and the United States are conducting. In total, 203 service members from the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) and 21 elements from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) are taking part in Operation Culminating, along with some 5,000 U.S. service members and civilians.
During the training, from January 18 to February 21, service members will hone parachuting techniques. The troops will carry out offensive and defensive operations, as well as operations of cooperation and coordination with agencies, in addition to airborne and urban missions.
Operation Culminating is the last phase of an exchange between the EB and the U.S. Army, conducted over five years, between 2017 and 2021. During the phase on American soil, units of the Brazilian Paratroopers Brigade joined a brigade of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.
Brazilian Minister of Defense EB General (ret.) Fernando Azevedo e Silva was in Fort Polk to monitor the training of Brazilian service members. U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, and General Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, welcomed Gen. Fernando Azevedo.
The Brazilian officer highlighted the importance of the partnership between both countries’ armed forces. “Our story began in World War II. The Brazilian Expeditionary Force stood with the Americans in the fields of Italy, against Nazi-fascism. Then, a team of pioneer paratroopers joined the 82nd Airborne Division to leverage lessons learned by the airborne troop, initiating the beginning of military parachuting in Brazil. In 2021, we resumed this exercise shoulder-to-shoulder, which is unprecedented for a South American troop,” said the minister in the Brazilian Ministry of Defense’s website.
Adm. Faller emphasized the importance of the training to service members. “You will be tested. I am very confident of your leadership and abilities,” he said.
EB Colonel Mauricio Valença da Cruz, who leads the Brazilian delegation of Operation Culminating, hopes that the mission will start a series of exercises that will contribute to improving the operational readiness system. “[Operation] Culminating enabled the development of ground military doctrine and strengthened ties with the U.S. Army,” said Col. Valença in the Ministry of Defense’s website. “The mission will promote the development and revision of many doctrinal items, such as field manuals, instruction notebooks, and organizational charts for military units.”
The FAB KC-390 Millennium took part in the exercise for the first time. The FAB team is part of the Zeus Squadron, a military unit headquartered at Wing 2 Air Base, in Anápolis (Goiás state). The team arrived in the United States on January 12, 2021 to conduct trainings in simulated and conflict scenarios.
“With all the technological progress that the KC-390 has brought to the FAB, whenever the aircraft has the opportunity to operate with other armed forces, we can improve the doctrine we use today, assessing the characteristics of the current scenario,” said FAB Major Rafael Portella Santos, pilot of the KC-390 team, to Agência Força Aérea.
In addition to the theoretical training, FAB service members conducted practice flights, such as paratrooper drops in joint flights with the U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 aircraft, on February 2. According to Agência Força Aérea, the mission enabled the new Brazilian cargo aircraft to operate with established military transport aircraft, used in combat scenarios worldwide.
“It’s a historic day for the Brazilian Armed Forces in the unprecedented Culminating exercise, with the drop of paratroopers from the Paratroopers Brigade and the use of the FAB’s new aircraft: the KC-390,” said Gen. Fernando Azevedo to Agência Força Aérea.