Fort Bragg will celebrate National Airborne Day on Aug. 14 at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum located in downtown Fayetteville. The annual gathering brings together current and former soldiers to honor the legacy of courage and excellence synonymous with the American paratrooper.
“The annual celebration honors the first official military parachute jump by the U.S. Army on Aug. 16, 1940,” said Elvia Kelly, Fort Bragg garrison spokeswoman. “Every year, Fort Bragg comes together to bring history to the forefront through a variety of ways, including parachute demonstrations by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and U.S. Army Special Operations Black Daggers.”
The family-friendly event will begin at 8 a.m. and finish around noon. The public is invited to attend the free event to learn more about paratroopers and the mission of the 82nd Airborne Division that calls Fort Bragg home.
“Visitors can expect a display of multiple weapons systems from the 82nd Airborne Division and other supporting units, a parachute demonstration from the U.S. Army Special Operations Parachute Team Black Daggers, the U.S. Army Golden Knights performing a High-Altitude Low Opening (HALO) demo jump and displays inside of the museum for the community to enjoy,” Kelly said.
The schedule includes parachute packing and mock door demonstrations, Black Dagger free fall and secure LZ demo at 11:45 a.m. and a Golden Knights free fall and demo at noon.
The 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Rock Band and Quintet will perform live music throughout the event. The celebration will have a food truck and an ice cream truck on site and bottled water will be available.
“When we observe National Airborne Day, we’re commemorating a segment of history that highlights the first successful military parachute jump in 1940,” Kelly said. “It’s a significant point in Army history contributing to Fort Bragg becoming the home of the airborne, a culminating event in which the surrounding community can celebrate with us.”
In 1940, a test platoon of volunteers from the 29th Infantry Regiment made the first U.S. Army parachute jump from an aircraft. Since that first jump, airborne soldiers have shared a distinguished tradition as elite units setting an example of determination and courage.
National Airborne Day is also a time to recognize the vigorous training of airborne soldiers and units in the Army. The Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, teaches soldiers the techniques involved in parachuting from aircraft and landing safely. The Jumpmaster School trains personnel in the skills necessary to jumpmaster a combat-equipped jump which means ensuring other soldiers’ parachutes and equipment are correct. A jumpmaster is also trained in procedures for rigging equipment containers and door bundles. The Military Free Fall School at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, is part of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg. The joint forces school trains all aspects of free fall parachuting and the use of high altitude-low opening (HALO) and high altitude-high opening (HAHO) parachuting techniques.
Pictured above: U.S. paratroopers in this file photo take part in the invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky, in July 1943. Lessons learned from the campaign proved invaluable to future airborne operations in World War II.
Pictured below left: Paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, descend during an airborne operation on Fort Bragg June 30. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lee Antreas)
Pictured below right: First Sgt. Adam Barfield, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, awaits his jumpmaster inspection before boarding an aircraft on Fort Bragg June 30. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lee Antreas)
Pictured above left: Paratroopers board a C-17 Globemaster III on Fort Bragg on April 13. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hannah Strobel)
Pictured above right: Special Operations soldiers conduct free fall training in the sky above Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. (File photo courtesy JFK Special Warfare Center and School)