71st Anniversary National Airborne Day

| August 16, 2011


That’s COB6 giving you the six minute warning above.

National Airborne Day is set on the day of the first parachute jump conducted by the Army’s Parachute Test Platoon on August 16th, 1940.

On the morning of 16 August 1940 the jump began. After the C-33 leveled off at 1500 feet and flew over the jump field, Lt. Ryder was in the door ready to jump. Warrant Officer Wilson knelt in the door waiting to pass the Go Point. When this was reached, he slapped Lt. Ryder on the leg and the first jump was made. Now Number One moved into position. Slap! “Go! Jump!”

Still no movement.

It was too late now to jump on this pass. Mr. Wilson motioned Number One to go back to his seat. As the plane circled Mr. Wilson talked to Number One. Number One wanted another chance. Okay, this time we’ll do it. Back into the jumping position and once again, slap!

Sadly, no movement. Number One returned to his seat.

Private William N. “Red” King moved into the jumping position in the door. Slap! Out into American military immortality leaped Red King… the first enlisted man of the test platoon to jump out of an airplane. Number One was transferred to another post and anonymity. Now there were forty-seven. Was Number One a coward? I don’t think many experienced jumpers would say so. There are things some men cannot do at a given time. Possibly another time would have been fine. He wanted to. He intended to. He just could not… at least that morning.

The first US airborne operation was in support of Operation Torch, November 1942, in North Africa when 531 members of the 2nd Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment flew 1600 miles in 39 C-47s, of which only ten aircraft dropped their pacs, the rest landed because of navigation difficulties and low fuel.

Ten years ago, 3rd Battalion, 75th Rangers secured an airfield in Kandahar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 19, 2001. On March 23rd, 2003, A Company, 3/75th conducted an airborne operation to secure an airfield in Northern Iraq a few days before the 173rd Airborne Brigade parachuted into Northern Iraq when the Turks wouldn’t allow the 4th Infantry Division to off-load and invade Iraq from their borders.

In years past, the 82d Airborne Division Association, mostly the DC Chapter, had to lobby to get recognition for National Airborne Day from the Senate every year, until 2009 when the Senate made it permanent.

We used to get a Presidential Proclamation every year, but for some reason, we haven’t had any since 2008.

That’s me, on my ass as usual, in the days before Eric Shinseki;

Thanks to Mr. Shackleford (I don’t think that’s his real name) for the link. And thanks to DrewM who pointed you Morons over here.

Category: Historical, Military issues

Comments (16)

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  1. defendUSA says:

    Seriously? That Buddy fucker in the WH has not issued one since he was elected? The list just gets longer.

  2. jerry says:

    But our unelected king did Proclaim WORLD Hepatitis Day



    OH, and HAPPY Airborne Day!!!!!!!


  3. 2-17AirCav says:

    I think that this is as close as he got: “The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union.” From Obama’s LGBT proclamation.

  4. UpNorth says:

    “in the days before Eric Shinseki;”. Another great quote from Jonn.
    And, all those surprised by the lack of a proclamation from President Present, say Aye. Bueller?

  5. Doc Bailey says:

    holy shit John is smiling. And young! And here I thought he popped out cranky Rangerific.

  6. Kell says:

    former (White Falcon)-2/ 325th AIR, 82nd ABN DIV., Ranger- 77 thru 91—



    All these years later, the airborne, ranger/ spec ops community is still the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Took a future crimunal and gave him a million reasons to be just be a good man!

    Something I will be eternally grateful for!!!


  7. Arrow says:

    Blood Upon The Risers just for all of you that love jumping out of a perfectly good airplane!


    (Lyrics posted below the video)

  8. PintoNag says:

    Here is one of those jobs I am glad someone else does.
    Anything higher than a horse’s back is TOO HIGH for me!

    Happy Airborne Day to all those brave souls who jump out of perfectly good airplanes!

  9. VB says:

    I wish to thank all my Airborne Brothers


  10. cakmakli says:

    Was that picture taken in 84? I remember in Basic, sometime in Sept of 84, we rolled our BDU sleeves straight up for almost one week and then quickly went back to the old way. Never did figure out why or who had us do it. I’ve often wondered about that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Feet and knees together, brother.

  12. Lonevoice says:

    Earned, not issued!!!!

    With all due respect, Shinseki can KMA!!!


  13. Don’t think I am old? Airborne is less than a month older than I am. That’s old. But I am still as active as the majority of 50 year olds.
    Airborne was my first big challenge of adulthood. Loved it while I hated it.