20th Special Operations Squadron, Wings of Blue Partner for CV-22 Jump Training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Drew Cyburt
  • 27th Special Operations Wing

 

The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue parachute team partnered with the 20th Special Operations Squadron assigned to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to conduct jump training from two CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft here, March 23, 2022.

The Wings of Blue's primary mission is to run the Air Force Academy’s Basic Freefall Parachuting course. They also have competition and demonstration teams that travel across the country to represent the Air Force in air shows and sporting events, as well as competitions against other teams from around the country. To enhance their two-week training exercise at Marana, they worked with 20 SOS CV-22s and HH-60 Pavehawks assigned to the 305th Rescue Squadron, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

"Cadets in training get exposure to various flying communities as part of their officer development,” said Maj. Mike Bush, the director of operations for the 98th Flying Training Squadron which oversees the Wings of Blue. “The more we can expose them to various services in addition to the Air Force, the more prepared they'll be for active duty." 

The event featured over 100 members, most of whom never jumped from a CV-22. The training was conducted by both demonstration and competition team members and instructors, as well as the Wings of Green, the sophomore class who are mentored by the Wings of Blue in hopes of becoming inducted onto the team. 

In the past, the 20 SOS has supported the Air Force Academy with flyovers and aerial demonstrations. This time, the Wings of Blue took advantage of the CV-22’s vertical take off and landing capability. 

"The Osprey has rotary capabilities and ramp jumping, which prepares us for most aerial exercises,” said Bush. ”Between the two CV-22s, we completed six sorties and had over 100 jumpers, 95 of which were cadets.”

The training was also helpful for the 20 SOS, as it allowed one of the CV-22 pilots to earn their certification to fly military freefall missions. 

"We also logged currencies for all our aircrew to stay proficient in military freefall operations,” said Capt. Brandon Belcher, 20 SOS CV-22 Osprey pilot. “Everything involved in conducting these jumps directly carries over to our operational mission. 

With the CV-22’s standard payload capacity of 24 seated personnel, the 20 SOS spread 101 jumpers across six sorties with approximately 20 jumpers per flight to support the Wings of Blue. It presented the 20 SOS the opportunity to work on a larger scale than normal.  

"So the fact that we were able to meet up and support 101 jumpers in one day was amazing,” said Belcher “It also gives the 27th Special Operations Wing an avenue to showcase our own capabilities.”