Eighty three years ago, on August 16, 1940, while World War II was raging but before the United States had entered the war, a platoon of soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia, completed four days of parachute jumps in a test that led to creation of the Army’s elite paratrooper units, known as the Airborne.
Just two years later, in 1942, America conducted its first World War II parachute combat assault in North Africa as part of Operation TORCH.
What Is National Airborne Day?
In 2001, President George W. Bush established August 16th as National Airborne Day to commemorate the Test Platoon’s foundational efforts.
The President’s statement included the following:
“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.”
Reflecting on dedication and sacrifice
This National Airborne Day, pay special tribute to the contributions of these troops by watching documentaries, reading historical biographies, or visiting military museums and memorials honoring the airborne forces.
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