Strengthening Partnerships at 1,500 feet

By: By SOCOM Public Affairs - 2/28/2014

The German liaison officer to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquarters served as jumpmaster to 72 jumpers from USSOCOM and Special Operations Command-Central Feb. 28 during a foreign wing exchange at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

As a liaison officer, Lt. Col. Wolfgang “Wolly” Beyer works with his U.S. counterparts at USSOCOM to build bilateral and multilateral cooperation, collaborative partnerships, and trust.

Creating a common experience between U.S. and international Special Operations Forces (SOF) partners through events such as this exemplify the importance of partner engagement and help strengthen existing networks of trust. This training evolution added to Beyer’s already impressive record of more than 5,600 jumps.

“I’m more than proud to be part of the awesome team that is the Airborne family here at SOCOM,” said Beyer, a German special operations officer who has been working at USSOCOM for the past year.

Along with representatives from 10 other nations who work at USSOCOM, Beyer serves as a conduit between his country’s national interests and SOF activities with the United States, as well as other partner nations.

USSOCOM is also expanding its liaison representation abroad, as well as welcoming more key partner nations to send officers to its headquarters. These liaisons have become a critical node of the global SOF network, providing a unique opportunity to strengthen global SOF partnerships by encouraging engagement, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing.

“It is important that we maximize these types of opportunities with our international partners,” said Army Lt. Col. Brian Howard, planner on the Global Campaign Planning team in the International SOF Coordination Center. “Opportunities like this help to build camaraderie, trust, and also demonstrate our partner's competencies.” 

It is special anytime an airborne qualified individual gets awarded jump wings from another nation, but it’s also a unique experience for the foreign jumpmaster as well.

“Today was my longest jumpmaster job without a break, but I was happy to put a smile onto the faces of the jumpers,” said Beyer.

For Howard, it was an especially rewarding day because waiting on the drop zone for a promotion ceremony was his family and guests. Col. Dan Hodne promoted Howard following his 1,500-foot descent and safe landing.

“My family enjoyed being a part of what we as service members in this community do on a somewhat routine basis,” said Howard. “They were excited, especially my youngest son, and it also gave them some insight into that part of my life.”

The event came to a conclusion with Beyer presenting each jumper with an official set of German jump wings.

“It was an honor to receive my German wings, but more importantly it was great to see Lt. Col. Beyer pin wings on all of those who participated in the jump,” Howard said. “There is a certain level of risk associated with airborne operations, and the jumpmaster position is extremely important…Lt. Col. Beyer is a true professional with a tremendous amount of airborne experience; he was able to demonstrate his capabilities to the service members participating in the operation.”

Related Articles