JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska: Soldiers from U.S. Army Alaska and the Indian Army exchanged airborne jump wings and gifts during a ceremony Nov. 13 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

The Soldiers earned their foreign jump wings on Nov. 10 when they conducted a combined jump as part of the combined training exercise Yudh Abhyas 2010.

“It was a good friendship jump. It was something I was looking forward to throughout the entire exercise. I’m very proud to have their wings,” said Sgt. Bryon Moss, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. “It was a symbol of friendship to me, being paratroopers exchanging wings like that. It was an exceptional experience.”

Individual Soldiers from both armies awarded their counterparts their jump wings during the ceremony.

“I think it was very appropriate to have individual paratroopers from each brigade pin the wings on each other. It symbolizes personal bonds built at the individual level during Yudh Abhyas 2010,” Lt. Col. Christopher J. Cassibry, 1-40th CAV commander said. “These bonds were built by braving hardships and sharing risks while executing realistic combined training together.”

The ceremony was part of the conclusion of the two-week long exercise in which Soldiers of U.S. Army Alaska and the Indian Army worked side-by-side to conduct combined training operations.

“It was a good experience being able to work along side the Indian Army. I learned that they are hard-workers, very educated and friendly,” Moss said. “This wing exchange and the overall exercise was to build a friendship between us. It was also meant to put us on the same page in case of future operations together.”

Leaders from each participating brigade exchanged gifts that commemorated and honored their time together during the exercise.

Yudh Abhyas is a regularly-scheduled bilateral, conventional-forces training exercise, sponsored by U.S. Army, Pacific and the Indian Army. The exercise is designed to promote cooperation between the two militaries to develop U.S. Army Pacific and USARAK relationships with India and promote interoperability through combined military decision making process, battle tracking and maneuvering forces, and exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures.

During the exercise, U.S. Soldiers and their Indian counterparts conducted a command post exercise, airborne operations training, marksmanship and tactical training and took part in cultural exchanges to improve partnership readiness and cooperation between the armies of India and the United States.