Dear Friends,

Recently I received an invitation to join an operation in South America. The operation was coded "Inca Pachacutec" (one of the famous Inca impairer) 2009 and was carried out by the Associazione Nazionale Paracadutisti d'Italia, Ufficio Brevetti Nazionali Esteri.

The operation was a great success and one of my dreams came true – visiting the famous Inca sites and on top parachuting in Peru!

After my arrival at Lima international Airport on Sunday, I was picked up by 2 officers of the host unit and escorted to our hotel in Miraflores. Miraflores is one of the most popular districts of Lima, where you may find fine restaurants and a great nightlife. I linked up with our Italian fellows and one Spanish fellow and we spent a great evening together.

On Monday we were welcomed in the base of the national 1° Forcas Especiale (1st Special Forces Brigade) in Lima by a great formation including a military band. National anthems were played and the pride of the Peruvian brothers in arms was tangible. After the presentation to the General Officer Commanding we were led to the parachute training area of the Airborne School, which is part of the 1st Special Forces Brigade. Mock-up training, tower jumps and PLFs were executed to meet the high standard of the instructors. In the evening we were transported to an airfield in Pisco where we were settled in the barracks.

Waking up early next morning (Tuesday) and getting ready for the jumps we were told that due to weather conditions the jump had been postponed to noon.

So we took up the chance of a boat-trip to the Paraquas Islands where we watched huge sea-wolves, millions of birds and even two penguins in their natural environment. After lunch we got into our parachute gear and did one static-line jump with Mc-1b parachutes from an AN-32 of the Peruvian Air Force. We jumped along with an actual Airborne basic course consisting of around 300 personnel of the school. THe DZ was a desert which provided soft landings in the fine sand. While flying over the DZ we saw the big trucks driving on the Pan- America high-way close by.

On Wednesday morning we were on stand-by due to weather conditions again. After noon we all got another jump by static-line. Outstanding was the para-dog Pit. The dog was dispatched among the static-liner with his own parachute on his back and landed safely on the DZ in the desert where he waited for his care-taker to get released from the harness. Pit did his 5th jump with us!

Then we returned by truck to the airfield and I had the honour to join 8 Italians and around 20 Peruvian jumper in a freefall jump out of 4000m. This was great fun.

In the evening we returned to the barracks of the 1st SF Brigade in Lima and received accommodation there.

Thursday was the parade day. In the morning we were led around to visit all the different units of the 1st SF Brigade. Very impresive were the Commando School, the Regiment and the Anti Terror unit of the Brigade. Several military shops were visited and the famous Airborne shopping took place first time in Peru …

In the afternoon almost 300 graduated personnel from the Airborne course and we as foreign guests trained for the parade. At 7pm the parade took place in a very solemnly ceremony. The commanders in charge of the Peruvian Navy and Air Force (of which personnel graduated) were present and awarded to the representatives of the three guest nations (i.e. Italy, Spain and Germany) the Peruvian Airborne wings. Gifts were exchanged and we were welcomed in the Peruvian Airborne Family. After the ceremony we were invited to an official welcome of the Brigade in the honour hall of the brigade. Many toasts were exchanged and Pit had a lot of fun among us.

On Friday morning the commander of the Airborne School Coronel Vega awarded to the freefall jumpers the Peruvian Freefall wings in front of the Freefall memorial. This was a great honour to us. After the ceremony we were driven back to our hotel in Miraflores where we spent a great Italian dinner in evening.

A great marathon run and big social event of the armed forces of Peru took place on Friday and we were invited again. The marathon ended in the base of our host unit. The Secretary of Defence was present and I had the honour to be introduced to the Commander of the Peruvian Army who speaks fluently German.

Saturday and Sunday we did sight-seeing in Lima before we flew to Cuzco on Monday early morning. Once arrived in Cuzco we started to explore the Inca sites around the former capital of the Inca emporium. Many temples, castles, also an agriculture site and a saline used since more then 1000years were visited. We got accommodation in a small hostel, where original national native food was served and music was played. We felt very well.

Tuesday was the high-light of the cultural program because we were scheduled to visit the lost city of the Incas - the world wonder Macchu Pichu. THose who know me well will probably recall that I have seen many famous sites around the world: Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Acropolis of Athen, Collosseum of Rome, Angkor in Cambodia, the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, the former capitals of Thailand Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, Great Wall and Forbidden City in China. But I must admit that Macchu Pichu is outstanding. It is really a diamond on the back of the mountain – unbelievable beautiful and everything is original. Our guide Carlos gave us the best introduction to the Inca culture.

On Wednesday we returned to Lima from where we departed home.

All in all it was a fantastic trip: The fellowship and friendship to our national Peruvian and international brothers in arms, the safe jumps and the professional attitude of our host-unit and the cultural program were excellent. We are all very grateful alive such a great experience. I thank Commander Vik Doveri and Cpt Paolo Pastornio (yes, I was convinced of becoming a member of his international fan-club) for their great organisation and the opportunity to join their group for this memorable operation.

Expedition Peru in May 2009 was a great success. In beginning of November 2009 we are all invited to participate in the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the oldest Airborne School in South America – Escuela de Paracaidistas del Ejercito in Lima/ Peru. INTERNATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS has the honour to lead an international delegation to participate in the celebrations and jumps to gain the coveted Airborne wings of Peru. Also the visit of Cuzco and Maccho Pichu can be added to this operation.

Let’s go! Viva del Peru!

Stefan Eicker

Back to Overview of Reports