National Airborne Day celebrates the anniversary of the first official Army parachute jump which took place on August 16, 1940. Since that time combat jumping has been used on many occasions and has proven a useful tactic in the success of many overseas operations. In 2001 under President George W. Bush August 16th was officially named “National Airborne Day”.
Why does it matter?
This initial jump was a game changer because this gave our military the ability to land combat forces behind enemy lines. The idea was first conceived by Brigadier General William Mitchell but it was Major William Lee who adopted the idea and organized the first Parachute Test Platoon. This platoon pioneered how parachuting could be used in combat. The first combat jump was executed November 1942 to send US militants behind enemy lines in North Africa. This first combat jump not only pioneered the way for future jumps, it also proved that this new airborne forces could play a vital role in our nations military future.
Combat jumping has since been used on numerous occasions including D-Day at Normandy, Korean and Vietnam Wars, Desert Storm, and most recently the liberation of the people of Afghanistan. On all these occasions, and many others, combat jumping has been a key component to success.
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