- This article is about an in-universe event. For the in-game mission, see Flicker of Hope.
- "They are a brave bunch of soldiers. I'll give them that."
- ― Pixy
In early May, the tide of the Belkan War was beginning to turn. In its rapid advance through its neighbors, Belka had stretched itself too thin. In the first few weeks after the initiation of Offensive Campaign No. 4101, the Allied counter-offensive, all Osean and Sapin land had been liberated. Only one country remained under Belkan occupation: Ustio.
The Belkans were confident. This was no army of draftees, but the Ustio-Branch Belkan Army, which had thus far gone undefeated. Still, the Allies' spirits were high, coming off of a string of recent victories against Belka. The stage was set for the battle that would drastically change the war.
On May 12th, the liberation of Ustio was put into motion. Elements of Osea's 101st & 122nd Airborne, both paratroop divisions, dropped into Solis Ortus, which lay just several dozen miles south of the Ustian capital of Directus, the GHQ of the Ustio-branch Belkan Military. Ustio's Galm Team mercenary unit provided air cover.The drop was by no means perfect. There were concentrated AA batteries in the drop zones which took a toll on some of the paratroopers. Platoons were separated because of the wind, and limited ammunition was an issue. However, the Ustians did a top notch job defending the ground units, as they quickly silenced the AA batteries and cleared out the drop zones.
The Belkans' attention shifted from the ground troops to the transports still delivering paratroops to the drop zone. Fighters were sent in to take care of the transports, but were unsuccessful due to the air cover provided by Pixy and Cipher, who were also helping take out the anti-air batteries. Eventually, the Belkans conceded defeat, and abandoned Solis Ortus.
This wasn't a major blow to the Belkan Army, possibly because they knew they had deployed few forces into the area. However, it set the stage for the liberation of Directus, and the Allied Forces wasted no time; in fact, the next operation took place the very next day.
- As is the case with other events in Ace Combat Zero, Operation Varsity is the name of a real-life paratrooper drop operation in World War II.
- The real-life operation's principal objective was for the paratroopers to drop deep into enemy territory and take their positions until they are relieved by the land forces. This is exactly what happens here with the 101st and 122nd Airborne, taking the Belkan positions in Solis Ortus and waiting for the regular army of the Allied Forces.
- Airborne operations are extremelly dangerous and complicated ordeals to perform. There are chances that the troops never land safely or that the enemy overruns them. High Command ordered the operation looking for a quick end to the conflict, and a more detailed and secure operation would take too long, losing their momentum.
- The terrain of Solis Oritus is favorable to an airborne operation because of the mountain range that surrounds the city. The drop destinations were the vales which the town was built on, making it easier on the troops.
- The 101st Airborne of Osea shares startling similarities with the real-life 101st Airborne of the United States Army, sharing the same roles, troop name, and mission objectives; it is very likely to have been inspired by the real-life 101st. The real-life 101st was also known to be a very prideful and fierce group during their missions, as also shown in the game.