U.S. Soldiers assigned to 82nd Airborne Division parachute from a C-17 Golbemaster III aircraft during a joint forcible entry exercise (JFEX) on Fort Bragg, N.C. JFEX is a joint airdrop designed to enhance service cohesiveness between Army and Air Force personnel by training both services on how to execute large-scale heavy equipment and troop movement. DoD photo by Staff Sgt Rasheen A. Douglas, U.S. Air Force.
August 16, 1940 marked the first official Army parachute jump, validating the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind a battle line by parachute.
This year commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Army Parachute Test Platoon’s first official jump.
On August 14, 2002 President George W. Bush issued a proclamation to recognize August 16th as “National Airborne Day.”
In his proclamation President Bush states:
“During World War II, Airborne tactics were critical to the success of important missions, including the D-Day invasion at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, the invasion of Southern France, and many others. In Korea and Vietnam, Airborne soldiers played a critical combat role, as well as in later conflicts and peacekeeping operations, including Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm, Haiti, Somalia, and the Balkans. Most recently, Airborne forces were vital to liberating the people of Afghanistan from the repressive and violent Taliban regime; and these soldiers con-tinue to serve proudly around the world in the global coalition against terrorism.
Airborne combat continues to be driven by the bravery and daring spirit of sky soldiers. Often called into action with little notice, these forces have earned an enduring reputation for dedication, excellence, and honor. As we face the challenges of a new era, I encourage all people to recognize the contributions of these courageous soldiers to our Nation and the world.”
Visit Ft. Bragg’s Official Facebook page to view photos from their National Airborne Day celebration August 14th.