Egyptian Paratroopers: 'Soldiers of the Sky'

Ahmed Eleiba , Thursday 1 Dec 2016

Ahram Online visists Egypt's airborne unit

Airborne units represent an army's rapid deployment forces, trained to parachute into distant strategic locations, taking and holding military posts until reinforcements arrive.
The significance of airborne units became especially apparent after the WWII allied invasion of Normandy, which encouraged Egyptian armed forces (EAF) to send a delegation to England in 1951 to train on airborne techniques.
In 1954, the EAF founded the paratroopers' school, to become the first army with airborne forces in the Arab region and Middle East.
Since their establishment, the airborne forces have been a focus of Egyptian army development, a key component of success across a broad range of missions.
The paratrooper as an individual is a pillar of advanced training inside the unit. The role has exacting physical and psychological requirements, as the paratrooper's success can make or break a mission.
On the training field, soldiers are taught how to parachute jump, conduct raids, engage and evict enemy forces, control the combat yard, preserve military posts, and handle unforeseen crises that may arise.
The Egyptian airborne forces have earned a respectable reputation among international counterparts, signified by joint exercises with top modern armies, and recently the Egyptian-Russian Protectors of Friendship joint training, held in Egypt in October.
A new recruit joining the airborne infantry units of the Egyptian army becomes part of an extensive 45 day program, in which he is trained to abandon civilian life and become a professional soldier.
Paratroopers are carefully assigned to their units, to work effectively with other soldiers and military college graduates.
Preparing for the initial parachute jump involves intense daily training.
To preserve their safety, new fighters joining the airborne unit are trained using flight and jump simulators, overseen by well-trained officers.
Corporal Mohamed Saeed says his main duty in the airborne unit is to train soldiers physically to perform their duties and respect military orders, in an atmosphere of mutual respect between soldiers and commanding officers.
Paratroopers attend periodic meetings on psychological warfare tactics, to maintain a high state of awareness against rumors targeting the army or the nation. To enrich their knowledge of the field and military history, the airborne unit contains a scientific library, and a museum documenting the history of the Egyptian armed
Paratrooper Ahmed Saeed says that discipline and commitment are the most important principles he has learned since he joined the airborne units.
Another soldier, Mahmoud Ibrahim, says that joining the military taught him many important principles such as respect, discipline, commitment, self-improvement, and above all, the sacred duty of protecting the homeland against any threat.
"Joining the Armed Forces is the highest honor any Egyptian can achieve; we are the finest soldiers on Earth," he concludes.
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