Dear Fellow Paratrooper,

We just returned from Asia where we accomplished OPERATION ASIA 2007 – the operation was a complete success!

Just a brief report of the facts:

Due to the political situation in Burma our main host units in Thailand (RT Air Force and RT MC) were on stand-by to deploy and were not able to host us for the scheduled jumps. This information was released just 2 weeks in advance to the start of the operation. After this major change, INTERNATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS offered to every registered participant to withdraw his registration but only a few did so. In total 10 participants from USA, UK, Germany, Japan and Singapore joined this memorable operation.

Because INTERNATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS owes a good relationship to all Airborne units in Thailand, we requested jumps with another Thai Airborne unit and received permission within 2 weeks only.

So we operated for 3 days with the Airborne Division (former PARU) of the Royal Thai Border Patrol Police in Naresuan Camp close to Hua Hin. Even accommodations were provided directly in the camp, which is settled directly at the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Thailand.


In Thailand:
- parachute training with Royal Thai Air Force Parachute Centre (Airborne School)
- parachute training with the Airborne School of the Royal Thai Border Patrol Police
- jumps from C-23 Sherpa with the Royal Thai B.P.P. Abn Div (PARU):
- 1 water-jump in the ocean
- 1 jump by static-line or freefall on the DZ directly in Naresuan Camp
- dive-training and shooting with Royal Thai Border Patrol Police
- sight-seeing: - Bangkok (Royal Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, snake farm, river-boat tour),
- former capital and beautiful ruins of Ayuttaya,
- River-Kwai Bridge,
- Tiger Temple.

In Cambodia:
- jumps with Royal Cambodian Special Forces 911 Brigade:
- 1 jump by S/L of the complete group
- 1 jump by static-line or freefall (2 of us did even 2 freefall jumps)
- shooting with SF 911 Bde
- sight-seeing: - Phnom Penh (Royal Palace, S21 prison, “killing fields”),
- famous ruins of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

We also had the honour to have a jumpmaster from the Ranger Airborne School in Narashino/ Japan within the group, who joined the jumps and awarded the Japanese Abn Wings with original certificates to the host-units and participating fellows.

Following wings, badges and certificates were awarded during„Operation Asien 2007“:
- Royal Thai Police Airborne wings in different levels (static-line or freefall)
- Royal Cambodian Airborne wings in different levels (static-line or freefall)
- Japanese Defence Forces Airborne Wings
- Royal Cambodian Commando Badge
- dive-certificate from the diver-rescue team of the Royal Thai Patrol Border Police

INTERNATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS will also organise an operatioin in Asia in 2008 and is looking forward to meeting you there!


Stefan Eicker

A brief report on my observations for Operation Asia 2007;

Late changes were made in the scheduled program due to the Royal Thais Army and Air Force jump cancellations based on political/security concerns. Stefan did notify us in ample time of these unforeseen changes and gave us the opportunity to cancel or continue. Stefan did inform all participants that he would try to schedule jumps with the Royal Thais Border Police and Army. The Cambodian operation was unaffected by these events.

The revised schedule went according to plan. Both a land and water jump were conducted by the Royal Thai PARU from a C-23 Sherpa aircraft with the Thai personnel also jumping. Prior to jumping, the Thai instructors required all jumpers to undergo jump refresher training according to the usual safety standards (mock door exits, 34 foot tower, suspended harness, front-side-rear PLF's, MC-1 parachute fitting). The Thai instruction was professional. SCUBA dive training was also conducted.

All international jumpers conducted both a land and water static-line jump, with some participants conducting military free falls. No injuries were reported. Overall assessment: excellent operation!

The Cambodian program did not require ground training, as the same parachutes and procedures were to be followed, other than the jump aircraft which was a door-exit from a Russian MI-8 helicopter. Two static-line and two military free-fall jumps were made available, again without any reported injuries. Overall assessment: excellent operation!

In addition to the jumping program, many cultural and interesting side trips were conducted, to include Grand Royal Palace, King Palace, long boats, snake farm, Prison 21 and the killing fields, tiger temple, Bridge on the River Kwae, prop blast party, foreign weapons firing, Angkor Wat, etc.

Accommodations were very satisfactory and the international jump group enjoyed a great time and will have many fond memories.

Report submitted by Robert Hunt, MAJ, USSF (ret)

Operation Asia 2007

Day 1 Friday Oct 26th.
After a long flight myself and fellow jumper Gary Wright arrived at Bangkok Airport. We were hot, tired but looking forward to a good week of daring do in Thailand & Cambodia. We were aware of the change in aircraft and schedule but in true airborne style were determined to enjoy ourselves and adapt to meet the new programme. We were given a warm welcome by our course leader Stefan Eicker and took a taxi to our hotel in Bangkok, where in true British fashion we proceeded to take our sleeping medicine (numerous bottles of Singha beer) which at 9am zonked us till 5 that evening.

After a shower and shave and over some more Singha we met the rest of the jumpers, a truly international bunch, consisting of
Bob (Ex US Green Beret& Vietnam vet)
Matt (serving US Army)
Don (Sheriffs Dept Pilot & Ex US Forces)
Heiko (Ex German Army)
Gary L (known as G3.. myself and Gaz Wright being G1 & G2)
Sum (Singapore Police)
Takanori (serving Japanese Forces)

After a good few beers (our kidneys are evil and must be punished!)…we broke for bed, I for one with a good feeling that we were in great company or as Bob would often say “it doesn’t get much better ”.

Day 2 Saturday Oct 27th
This was a day given over to sightseeing in and around Bangkok. We visited the Royal Palace and the holy temple of Wat Phra Khaeo both very impressive, the only minor problem being that wearing shorts wasn’t allowed , and a number of us had to hire trousers in the one size fits nobody category, so guess who got the most outrageous looking trousers, yep me!
Much to the amusement of Gaz W. a.k.a G2, I finished the tour feeling like
a cross between a circus clown and the genie from Aladdin. The day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the nearest military goody shop, so before the snake farm we headed to the street of military shiny things and with Don leading we proceeded to buy up the shops entire stock of airborne wings, very soon Don had the shops staff run ragged buying various wings etc, even getting them to make him a set of freefall wings. Eventually Don had more badges than General Patton and proclaiming himself satisfied we left. Leaving the shop staff suffering from post traumatic stress we adjourned to our coach to head for the river.

Then taking to the high sea’s we boarded our boat and visited a nearby snake farm on route we were flagged down by a local trader in a boat and bought some, you guessed it, Singha beer!
On reaching the snake farm/zoo we were treated to a show of snake handling and after a walk around the exhibits we took to the river again and returned to the city centre, food and bed.

Day 3 Sunday Oct 28th
This day brought a welcome change of pace with our relocation south by air
conditioned mini bus to the Royal Thai Border Patrol Police Camp at Fort
Naresuan, Cha’am, this was the home of the P.A.R.U. (Police Airborne Reinforcement Unit) and was an impressive complex which was more of a military base than any Police training camp I’d ever seen. Located on the base was the airborne training school and drop zone and also as the camp was located on the Gulf of Thailand their Marine section was stationed there.

We were accommodated on the camp in a number of houses a stones throw
from a beautiful beach, I thought Bobs right it doesn’t get much better. Very soon we were swimming in the sea, where Bob was impressing us with his ability to swim and drink Singha at the same time. All that Green Beret scuba training didn’t go to waste after all. When asked why the beer when swimming Bob came out with another course classic “ Hey, I’m not here for a long time I’m here for a good time!”

Day 4 Monday Oct 29th
Time for some refresher training today because the Thais were not going to let our bunch of desperado’s near one of their expensive aircraft until they were satisfied we were not going to kill ourselves or their recruits who we would be accompanying. It was good to be doing something at last and the morning passed with good humour. First was the Sherpa mock up with our team wearing drill chutes & reserves doing the paratrooper shuffle down the mock up and leaping from the door. Then we watched the Thai Police doing the same, very impressive and military, lots of stamping and shouting, it made the Guards look like amateurs. We did it again and the jumpmasters were satisfied. Then the jump tower or as they say, so I’m told in the British Airborne, ‘the knacker cracker’ With Stefan leading we all took turns to climb the steps and hurl ourselves into space, eventually we were all proclaimed proficient and we moved on to harness training. This was quickly followed by everyone’s favourite, PLf’s, where we were watched by a curious class of police recruits as we did our thing. It was all very good humoured proving that airborne personnel the world over are exactly the same. That was it, so after visiting the packing sheds and being fitted for our 2 chutes (1 dry jump & 1 water jump into Gulf of Thailand) we returned to our rooms. We were all very impressed with the professionalism displayed at all levels at the airborne school; they looked ‘the business.’

That night we learned that our jumps the next day had been postponed till
the following day due to the Police aircraft being unavailable.

Day 5 Tues Oct 30th
As we weren’t jumping today the schedule had to be re-jigged so after breakfast we gathered at the Royal Thai Police Diving School to learn the basics of scuba diving. A number of the group including Don, Bob and G3 had considerable experience in diving but as for me I can remember struggling to get through the Police swimming tests in the U.K. and nearly killing myself on a previous water jump years ago, so me and water don’t mix. As it happened it was only an introduction to the sport so after some training in the tank we broke for lunch during which time the weather had worsened, so unable to continue we moved to plan B, trigger time on the range, so after a morale boosting afternoon of blasting targets to bits we went back to the fort to self heal with beer.

Day 6 Wed Oct 31st
Today was the big one and started early with those doing the water jump first in T- shirts and shorts, the rest, me included were to do the dry jump
first, so after being bussed to Hua hin Airfield nearby we glimpsed our
first view of our aircraft the Sherpa C23 twin engined troop transport.
(The chutes we were using were the Mc1– 1B a good solid steerable American canopy) Without further ado we were split into sticks and loaded
aboard. I ended up on the starboard stick, with the Thai Police recruits
on the port side making their first jump.

Stefan, Gaz W, Don, Takanori and Heiko were last aboard as they were
to be first out over the water, the plane then would fly back inland and drop the rest of us on the d.z. at Fort Naresuan. Very soon the planes engines roared and in no time we were climbing for height heading out over
the Gulf of Thailand. I looked down and saw the coast disappearing to be replaced by grey sea. The five jumpers were stood up and went through the
hooking up drill, Stefan took his place as No 1 in the door and I felt the aircraft throttle back. The jumpmasters were hanging out the door judging the drop, then they turned to the jumpers and I heard the cries of GO! GO!
In an instant the five had disappeared and the deployment bags were pulled in. I felt a surge of pride go through me, it looked good. The aircraft banked allowing me to catch a glimpse of the canopy’s heading towards the sea. That was it. I hoped the Thai Police boats were on time. The plane headed for the coast and Fort Naresuan. Over the d.z. the Thai Police on the port side were stood up and on command hooked up and after equipment check they piled from the door stampeding out to the cries of Go! from the jumpmasters.

Now it was our turn to stand up, I was jumping last one of the stick and was well aware that the d.z. wasn’t the biggest so it was important to be quick out the door so as to avoid missing it. I hooked my static line over the cable and inserted the safety pin through the clip bending it over before checking the route of the static line ensuring it laid on the outer of my arm. On the command ‘check equipment’ I checked my own and the jumper in front making sure his static was correctly routed etc. We numbered off and the stick leader was positioned in the door. The aircraft commenced its run in and I felt the stick move forward as we started to exit the door, the screams of the jumpmasters grew louder as people jumped, it was quick, manic and efficient. I was through the door before I could think; I counted, looked up and checked. All ok, I kicked out a twist, grabbed the steering toggles and looked for other jumpers. I misjudged the wind and landed with it, only realising it late but managing to compensate by pulling hard on the rear risers before impact, slowing down enough for it not to hurt. However it earned me words of advice from a watching instructor. Oh well, as Bob said later “Any jump you can walk away from is a good one”

No time to relax, it was back to the airfield and into shorts T- shirts, life jackets and parachutes…Bob, Matt, G3 and myself were the next victims for the water jump. The others were to do a freefall. I bumped into Gaz W who gave me a top tip to keep the coast on the left and you’ll be into wind. The aircraft was loaded again with the us water jumpers near the doors . The engines screamed and the transport lumbered into the air. This time we were jumping though the port and starboard doors at the same time. Bob & Matt on one side and G3 and me the other. We headed out over the Gulf again and we went through the rituals of hooking up and checking equipment. G3 stood poised in the door ready, with me close behind. I thought of a previous water jump when I got into difficulty being dragged by the chute. I was determined this wasn’t going to happen again. I looked round at the free fallers and caught sight of Stefan, maybe some of my nerves showed, because he grinned and winked, I smiled back and then we were jumping. I followed G3 out, my arms tight in and legs together. Great! chute ok, toggles in hands and into wind, reserve undone and swung to the side. Chest strap open and hands on leg straps and ‘plop’ into the water. I was out of the harness and floating free when the rescue inflatable arrived with G3 and the Thai police crew aboard. The chute was hauled in followed by me and 20 minutes later all 4 of us were enjoying a cold beer at our beach side accommodation. Later that day the free fallers Stefan, Gaz W, Heiko, Don and Takanori did their jump returning happy and smiling, well pleased.

After the jumping was completed the Thai’s produced beer and very soon we were joined by one of their Majors & a Colonel and a party atmosphere
prevailed. Then after a short Wings Parade where we were awarded our Police Wings by a Major General we changed into civvies and drove back to Bangkok. We were all impressed with the P.A.R.U. and had been well looked after and it was a happy contented team that headed north that afternoon.

Day 7 Thurs Nov 1st
The next day we flew to Cambodia where we were greeted at Phnom Penh by a welcome party from their Special Forces Brigade, who were hosting us, we then booked into our Hotel and shortly after went out sightseeing. first stop was the genocide museum at the infamous S21 prison were the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot interrogated, tortured and killed thousands upon thousands of the population. It was a very sombre party that left there driving next to the ‘killing fields’ themselves, were we shown the tower of skulls, which was a monument containing the remains of many tortured souls. The footpaths around the killing fields still contain human bones and it was impossible not to walk on these which together with clothing still seeped from the earth. After lighting tapers in respect and placing them at the monument we left returning to our hotel for the night.

Day 8 Fri Nov 2nd
Another early start, so it was up and into jump kit before the drive to the d.z. where we were to rendezvous with the MI-8 helicopter. After an hours drive through the Cambodian countryside we arrived. There surrounded by a crowd of locals on scooters and bikes was the MI-8. Jumping with us were a large number of Cambodian soldiers all in their distinctive camouflage We were shown the d.z. and had any hazards pointed out, the Cambodians had done the job well and as well as a windsock there was a large white T on the ground to give wind direction and a large white arrow to give the jumpers the direction they should be facing, they must have been told I was coming!
In no time we all had Mc1-1b chutes fitted and were lined up (there were some Brit chutes on offer but the wiser amongst us avoided them , might not be steerable I thought) after a short prayer we marched out to the chopper .
Don was wearing one of the British rigs as on this jump we all were jumping static line. He shouted over to me “Hey G1 what are these British chutes like to jump” I shouted back “If they’re like those me and G2 jumped at Arnhem they’re non steerable” A worried look passed over Dons face “How will I know” he said. G2 shouted over grinning “if you look up and there’s no toggles, its un steerable, easy eh” Dons reply was unprintable.

We were using the side door to jump from and on getting in I could see it was quite small, eventually about twenty of us were crammed inside, I was near the rear and steadied myself on an internal fuel tank handing my static line up to the jumpmasters who hooked me up. The starter motors clicked and the turbines whined and I felt the chopper rise on its suspension before clattering off nose down picking up speed and height. I looked out of the window and saw the paddy fields drop away alarmingly. What was more alarming though was that the Cambodian soldier in front of me had his static line wrapped round my reserve handle. I unwrapped it, re-coiled it and handed it to him. Phew, close call. At about 2,000ft we were ready and I watched as the jumpmasters literally fold people in half before despatching them through the tiny door. All our team went, and then it was my turn. It was a squeeze, I crouched low and felt someone force me lower still and then I jumped. I’d counted up to 6 seconds before I was under full canopy; I looked down and had a terrific view of the countryside. I did my best to make the d.z. but was way off it and I landed softly into about a foot of water in a nearby rice field, scattering some local workers. Then the long walk back into the d.z. where we collected new chutes ready to go again. Bob called it a day at that as the wind had got up

The rest of us went again cramming ourselves into the heli, this time I found myself No1. My view of the landscape was even better as the MI-8 rose to jump height with the jumpmasters shouting instructions to the pilots. They sounded so excited that I swear I nearly jumped three times!
With G3 as No2, I was bent double by those evil Cambodians and was ejected faster than a drunk from a night club. After checking my canopy I
looked up and had a cracking view of G3 dropping out I then actually managed to land bang on the d.z. bad move. It was like concrete and the wind gusting, slammed me sideways just as I was lining up. From a distance all Bob could see was a cloud of dust as I landed, he told me later he thought a mortar round had hit!

All that remained was for a our sky gods Stefan,Gaz W, Don and Takanori to gear up and do their free fall with some of their sky gods and it would be end ‘ex’ and back to the Special Forces base for beer and medals.. Don gave precise instructions of where he wanted Bob to be to get some action shots of him landing. Unfortunately we got mixed up and took action shots of everybody else but Don. We found out later that he’d come down some distance away. When Don asked later how many shots of him we got, we had to tell the truth, Dons reply was as ever unprintable.

Our Cambodian hosts drove us back to Fort Kambol Angsnuol Kandal where after a short wings parade we were awarded our Cambodian parachute
Wings & certificates by their Commander Special Forces (Airborne 911) it was a very proud moment indeed, we were also awarded Japanese Para Wings & certificates as a mark of friendship by Major Takanori Ikeda.

The Cambodians were generous hosts and after the ceremony was complete
the party started with a superb feast and numerous bottles of their beautiful
Angkor beer. We mixed and chatted with them, but as time was pressing we had to leave to catch a flight to Siem Reap and it was with much regret we
said our farewells and left for the airport.

Day 9 Sat Nov 3rd
Saturday saw the team in Siem Reap and time for a visit to the ancient temples of Anghor Wat. This fascinating city was one of Cambodia’s top tourist attractions and I could see why. We roamed the site stopping only for food and some medicinal beer to keep us hydrated. At times we were beset with local street peddlers and child beggars but nothing too excessive and after leaving the city we returned to the airport and our flight to Bangkok.

Day 10 Sun Nov 4th
Well folks, all things must end and it was with a heavy heart that Gaz W and I said our goodbyes to the group, I’d got to know each and everyone of them and felt proud and honoured to have jumped with them. Don had worked hard and produced a.disc of all the photo’s taken by the team so a big thank you must go to him. Lastly I would like to convey the teams thanks to Stefan for organising and coordinating the whole trip, it was a monumental achievement.

Till next time.

Gaz Brownlow

I initially joined Operation Asia to participate in jumping the C130 Hercules with the Royal Thai Air Force. Unfortunately due to unforeseen political reasons in Burma this was not possible. However disappointment was overcome when the original course was rescheduled with the PARU. Training began with the Royal Thai Air force this consisted of several jumps from a from a 70ft tower and a mock fuselage to simulate jumping from a C130. Parachute landing falls were also practised.
During my time training, was spent with a room mate from Germany called Heiko who had many free fall jumps to his name. Together we trained along side Air Force recruits and found that the professionalism and hospitality of our hosts was out standing.
A meeting with the R.T.A.F Flight Commander was arranged to discuss our training and experience. During this time Stefan continued to work hard to ensure our jumps would commence. He also tried to persuade the Air Force for the C130. I am truly grateful for this and appreciate Stefans hard work and effort.
The following week I was introduced to several other members of the course who had various military and parachuting experience. We soon got acquainted with each other after many stories and many bottles of Singha beer!
The week also consisted of several sightseeing visits to the ancient ruins of Ayuttaya and the impressive Grand Place in Bangkok. During the week we were assigned to the Royal Thai Border Police camp in Naresuan. Here we settled in our accommodation which was situated just a few yards from the beach. Our time there was spent swimming, sunworshiping and more beer!
Midweek and more training from the tower and PLFs with the PARU. Also members of our group who were non scuba trained spent the next day familiarising the diving equipment in a confined pool with the Thai Air Sea Rescue Police. This also gave us the opportunity to meet members of the boat crew who would be plucking us out of the sea on the water jump the next day.
Early start next morning and we arrived at Naresuan Airfield to prepare for our first drop.
The first group went in by static line followed by the free fallers onto Naresuan camp DZ.
No sooner than I had landed we were heading back towards the airfield to prepare for the water jump. This was my first water jump and I was really looking forward to it. For me it seemed a little strange preparing to make a parachute jump from a plane wearing only shorts, T-shirt no safety helmet but the reassurance of a life jacket.
After I exited the aircraft I began to dismantle my reserve chute to gave way for my life jacket and began searching for the boat crew. After I hit the water I gave the approaching boat crew a signal I was OK before being hauled into the inflatable.
Moments later we picked up another group member and headed ashore. After we assisted the boat crew in getting the inflatable and equipment onto the beach we walked back to our accommodation. Ten minutes after jumping from a plane into the Gulf of Siam I was sitting outside with other members having a beer.
Both jumps were made from a twin engined C-23 Sherpa. I found this a great aircraft to jump from having two rear side doors for two sticks to exit from.
Then on the following day we were presented with our Royal Thai Police wings.

Before we departed for Cambodia for the second phase it was time to say farewell to several members of the group who would not be joining us. Arrival at Phnom Penh we settled into our hotel prepared for the following day. Early next morning we ate breakfast and discussed the days events. A visit to the infamous S21 prison camp and also a tour of the killing fields which had lead by Pol Pots Kmer Rouge regime. Then a transfer flight to Angor and a visit to Angor Wat. For me this was the most impressive part of my visit to Cambodia.
After sightseeing it was back to business, we arrived at a drop zone to be welcomed by a group of locals who had gathered to watch a group of men jump out of a perfectly good aircraft. Our chosen jump ship was a Russian built Mi-8 Helicopter. This was also another first for me .Using a steerable chute we boarded the heli. As the engine started I waited eagerly to get airborne only to find after a minute as I looked out the window we were already at 500ft. Moments later the Helli completed circling the DZ and hovered almost motionless. The first drop went in and as I approached the door the jump master pushed my head down so that I could make a clear exit of the door. After this I returned to make a second jump from the Helli to make a safe landing on the DZ. Following this we watched the free fallers make a decent from 3,000ft.
The day was rounded off with a invitation to the special forces 911 Brigade camp and BBQ before jump wing presentation. The Japanese jump wing was also awarded as we had a Major Ikeda from Japan who was jump master qualified. Also we got the use of small arms which included firing the AK47.
Finally on the last day, I and the remaining members of the group found time to visit the Bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand and also a Tiger Temple.
Above all Operation was a complete success both by the people who organised and participated. I would gladly recommend anyone interested in military parachuting to sign up for one of these courses which are conducted under safe professional and friendly manner.
Once again many thanks.

Gary Lynas

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