Happy Birthday to the Airborne.

At the outbreak of World War Two, the world had not seen an attack carried out by airborne troops. The war was less than a year old when airborne warfare started with the German attack on the Belgian Fortress of Eben-Emael and a mass drop of their 7th Flieger Division in the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. Because of these landings, and although the drop in Holland didn’t go well at all places, the War Department in Washington decided to experiment with paratroops.

On June 25, 1940, just weeks after the German airborne operations in Belgium and the Netherlands, the Commandant of the Infantry School at Fort Benning received orders to form a Test Platoon. The platoon was composed of 48 enlisted men and two lieutenants who had been selected out of a group of over 200 volunteers of the 29th Infantry Regiment. With no more than twenty-one parachutists, Warrant Officer Wilson and four riggers, the group started their training in an old iron hangar at Lawson Field, Fort Benning.

via Tucker’s Troopers | The Odyssey of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 1942-1945.

I’ll just sit here in my comfy chair and let you lunatics celebrate.

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to the Airborne.”

  1. I must say that I do not resemble that remark. As long as all the engines are developing normal power, and the AC is fully controllable, I refuse to exit said aircraft.

    That said, Happy Birthday to the lunatics that will exit said aircraft.

  2. I had the great honor and privilege of being one of the original members of the reactivated 2d Battalion 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment in January of 2002. The 503d had the distinction of conducting the first combat jump by the US Army on 08NOV1942 as part of Operation: Torch in french algiers.

    Eventually transfering the Pacific Theater of Operations, the 503d conducted several successful combat jumps, proving that vertical envelopment was a viable and invaluable tactic to employ against the enemy. Without the successes of the 503d, there may not have been an Airborne component to Operation: Overlord. The Allies viewed casualties sustained by German Fallschirmjäger while assaulting Crete with great alarm, and actively considered canceling their own Parachute Infantry unit development.

    The Operation: Topside assault on Corregidor on 16FEB1945 proved to be the most dangerous intentionally selected dropzone in the entire war. The Rock Force reduced and took Corregidor by 02MAR1945, an enemy garrison of twenty thousand left only fifty survivors.

    The 503d, as part of the 173d Airborne Brigade, conducted the only combat jump during the Viet Nam War, 22FEB1967 in Operation: Junction City. The 173d Airborne Brigade was the longest serving American unit in Southeast Asia, with citations and casualties to match.

    Reactivated in 2002, the 2d-503d trained at lightning speed to make the jump onto bashur iraq on 26MAR2003 in Operation: Northern Delay.

    I am a Sky Soldier.

    I am the Parachute Infantry.

    Stand up! Hook up! Follow me!

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