aug 12 a This Tuesday, Aug. 16, marks the 82nd anniversary of the first official paratroop jump. The first man to jump was Lt. William T. Ryder.

As part of National Airborne Day and the Airborne and Special Operations Foundation’s 22nd birthday, the Airborne and Special Operations Museum will honor Ryder on Aug. 16.

Ryder’s wife, Muriel, went to ASOM a few years ago to buy a paver in honor of her husband.

The two met when Ryder was in the Pacific while Muriel served in the Red Cross. After he retired as a Brigadier General in 1966, he and Muriel moved to Pinehurst. Ryder passed away in 1992 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Muriel was working with ASOM on the paver design when she passed away earlier this year.

Their son, Guy, who lives in New York, will come to ASOM on National Airborne Day to help honor his father.

Jumps onto the Field of Remembrance, food trucks and big military events have previously marked National Airborne Day as a day not to miss at ASOM. This year, the museum is keeping things scaled down.

“It's been more elaborate because we were working with the Garrison, but with COVID and the deployment of the Corps, it's not going to be elaborate like it has been in the past,” said Jim Bartlinski, Museum Director.

However, there will be a 22% discount in the museum’s gift store and a free present to all guests who visit on Aug. 16. The main celebration and the honoree ceremony will start at 9 a.m. before the museum opens for the day.

The celebration will continue on Aug. 20 when the food truck Sunset Slush will be at the museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All guests will receive a small item to celebrate the ASOM's birthday.

A special mini-exhibit is also out this month at the ASOM, honoring the first female to ever parachute from an airplane. Georgia Ann Thompson, a North Carolina resident, jumped out of an airplane on June 20, 1913.

“She actually demonstrated for the U.S. Army how she was doing it,” Bartlinski said.

In 1976, she was made an honorary member of 82nd Airborne Division. Her parachute is on display in the mini-exhibit.

The museum's future will be dedicated to looking at the recent past. Museum Foundation members look forward to updating the timeline of the permanent exhibit. The museum plans to add the new history of the war in Afghanistan coming to an end with the massive pull-out in Kabul and the takeover by the Taliban.

“We just came out of 20 years of war, and as you go through the gallery, we don't have space dedicated to the 20 years of the last war. But, it doesn’t really tell the whole story,” Kris Johnson, the Foundation’s Development Coordinator, said. “So we are active in a fundraising campaign to raise the funds to renovate the gallery.”

The 82nd Airborne Division played a critical role in the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Maj. Gen.l Chris Donahue, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division at the time, was among the last American troops to leave Afghanistan.

Johnson told Up & Coming Weekly that the total cost to renovate the museum with the new section could cost roughly 8 to 10 million dollars.

For more information about the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum, go to

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