“Who are we? Airborne! Who are we? Airborne! How far do we go? All the way!”

This is the sound of Canadian paratroopers jumping from a perfectly good flying aircraft at 1,000 feet AGL. Approximately 50 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light infantry and support staff participated in Exercise Orzel Alert. The US Army’s 173rd Infantry Combat Brigade Combat Team also sent about 100 jumpers. Poland hosted the exercise with the participation of the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade.

Ex. Orzel Alert was held between May 5 and May 9 in Poland, providing opportunities for the three countries’ airborne forces to boost their cooperation at the battalion level and below.

With the recent events in Ukraine, NATO countries are expanding their presence in Eastern Europe’s member countries. Canada has been one of the leading countries in the imposition of severe sanctions against Russia, and is extending their military presence both in Poland and in the Black Sea.

But could exercises like Orzel Alert be the awakening of a newer generation of soldiers to be stationed in Eastern Europe? I believe so!

NATO was created to defend member countries against external threats. Whether it was the Soviets during the Cold War or the unconventional warfare we’ve been taking part in for the last 12 years in both Afghanistan and Iraq, member countries should always keep in mind that their first priority is to ensure the stability and safety of all the other members.

US Army Paratroopers receiving Canadian Jump Wings.
US Army Paratroopers receiving Canadian Jump Wings.

Of course, the United States has been the largest contributor to NATO by far, but they should not be the only ones in charge of protecting the remaining countries. A good example is Canada. Canada has sent more than 40,000 troops to Afghanistan in a little over 12 years. They also sent CF-18s to participate in the interdiction mission in Libya, and are now involved in the support of Ukraine.