Airborne operations at Fort Bragg are usually an all day affair for Soldiers, but in the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, this is not the case. The explanation for the quick cycle of jumps comes in the form of a 5-foot-6 inch noncommissioned officer, whose behind-the-scenes efforts contribute to the successful and expedient training of their Soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Eudelio Prieto Jr., operations and air noncommissioned officer, United States Army Special Operations Command, United States Special Forces Command, and USASOAC, has juggled many hats over the past four years supporting airborne operations within the three commands.
Prieto, father of five, and native of Bronx, N.Y., is an infantryman airborne Ranger, jumpmaster, master jumpmaster, and a freefall qualified NCO.
Since joining the Army in January 1998, and completing Airborne School in 2000, he has conducted about 100 static-line jumps, and over 500 freefalls.
“Being in the Army has afforded me a lot of opportunities. For example, to buy a house, own a car, and to live comfortably, instead of day by day with two or three jobs,” said Prieto. “It has also given me the opportunity to serve with some of the most courageous Soldiers and leaders our military has to offer.”
The day-to-day grind of handling issues for Soldiers never gets Prieto down. He comes to work with a positive attitude and coordinates all airborne operations within the three commands, checking with support personnel to ensure Soldiers have parachutes for the next operation.
“I also track and manage Soldiers outside of Fort Bragg — in Texas, Florida, and all over the world, who are assigned to the three commands,” said Prieto.
According to Prieto, he currently manages about 485 active, airborne Soldiers.
“I love being airborne. It is the most awesome feeling that one person can, in a non-spiritual sense, feel when exiting a C-130 in Airborne School. It was by far the most amazing blessing,” said Prieto.
“The efficiency of our operations is not only the result of what I do, but what my team accomplishes as well. They are by far some of the most professional guys that I have had the pleasure of serving with,” said Prieto. “Honestly, without them, our operations wouldn’t be as efficient as they are.”
Preito and his team spends from seven to eight hours prepping for a mission, including getting parachutes down to the aircraft.
“As a team, to take every portion of our operation and minimize it without sacrificing anything, especially safety, and accomplish the mission as efficiently as we do, speaks a lot about the Soldiers, NCOs and officers I work with every day,” said Prieto.