The Corner

A DAY FOR U.S. PARATROOPERS

Today is National Airborne Day, honoring all U.S. paratroopers and military parachutists (from all services) since the first American soldier leapt from a plane over Fort Benning, Georgia on August 16, 1940.

What’s interesting is that all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who earn the wings of a “military parachutist,” must first attend jump school, which is still located at Fort Benning and still conducted by the U.S. Army. 

In his 2002 National Airborne Day proclamation, President Bush said, “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.”

A former U.S. Marine infantry leader, W. Thomas Smith Jr. writes about military issues. He has covered war in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and in Lebanon. ...

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