NATIONAL AIRBORNE DAY CELEBRATION
Reported By SGT K.Grigorov
Image source: www.army.mil
Today marks the celebration of National Airborne day. We recognize the brave men and women who take part is this very dangerous profession today and in the past.
The idea can have its roots traced back to The Great War where parachutes were introduced into the German air service in 1918 and became standard issue. Used as a safeguard for fighter pilots they proved their worth on their first use on the 27th of June 1918, but this piece of equipment had more potential.
Airborne troops were seen as a way to insert a large number of troops behind enemy lines to capture and hold strategic locations or disrupt enemy support elements. Formed under the name Fallschirmjäger the Germans saw success with their employment in the initial stages of WWII, but by the time of the allied invasion of Normandy, they were seen is too big of a cost in terms of casualties for the Germans.
Meanwhile, seeing the success of the Fallschirmjäger in Sicily the USA was looking in to developing its own airborne troops. And in the 3rd IDs own Fort Benning in 1940, under the leadership of Major William Lee, the first Test Platoon pioneered the methods which formed the basis of American Airborne Units.
The largest to date and most crucial mission undertaken by airborne troops was their involvement in D-Day, or more precisely D-Day -1. While seeing success in North Africa this was the largest deployment of such a force ever seen. While scattered they showed great bravery and managed to accomplish their strategically important missions in time, for the most part, for the invasion.
On the 16th of August 2002 then president George W.Bush commemorated the first official US Army parachute jump, which happened in 1940, and since then the 16th of august has been National Airborne Day.
To take a line from the president’s speech:
“I encourage all Americans to join me in honoring the thousands of soldiers, past and present, who have served in an airborne capacity.”