The public is invited to join paratroopers past and present when they gather at Fayetteville’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum to celebrate the first U.S. soldiers to jump out of “perfectly good airplanes” on National Airborne Day. This year’s event, to be held on Saturday, August 18th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., marks the 72nd anniversary of the first sets of parachute jumps at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia.
The elite airborne ranks include prestigious groups such as the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, "Sky Soldiers," 82nd Airborne Division, "All American," and the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Airborne forces have also been represented in the former 11th, 13th, and 17th Airborne Divisions and numerous other Airborne, glider and air assault units and regiments. Paratroopers in the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps, the 75th Infantry (Ranger) Regiment and other Special Forces units conduct swift and effective operations in defense of peace and freedom. Airborne combat continues to be driven by the bravery and daring spirit of sky soldiers. Often called into action with little notice, these forces have earned an enduring reputation for dedication, excellence, and honor.
The celebration will include free-fall parachute demonstrations by the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team; the Black Daggers of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and the 82nd Airborne Division's All American Freefall Team. Visitors can talk with soldiers from Fort Bragg as they display modern weapons, equipment and machinery alongside those used since World War II. Re-enactors, dressed in WW II uniforms will also walk amongst soldiers of today.
A ceremonial wreath will be laid in front of the iconic “Iron Mike” statue in honor of all Airborne and special operations soldiers who have fallen in defense of the United States.
President George W. Bush, President of the United States of America proclaimed August 16, 2002, as National Airborne Day and on August 3, 2009 the Senate recognized National Airborne Day with Senate Resolution 235.
While many know the greater Fayetteville community has strong ties to modern military history many do not know the community has significant military history dating back to the Revolutionary War era. Follow the Patriots, Past & Present Trail to learn more. The trail provides a detailed history, history of each site on the trail and turn by turn directions between sites.
Located in downtown Fayetteville, the Airborne & Special Operations Museum is part of the U.S. Army Museum System and tells the story of Army airborne and special operations units from 1940 to the present. Museum hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon – 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday; open Federal holiday Mondays. For more information call (910)643.2774 or visit the website at www.asomf.org.
For information on other events in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, go to www.VisitFayettevilleNC.com.