ARMY PARATROOPERS PREPARE FOR BATTLE

Posted on July 15th, 2016 by:

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ARMY PARATROOPERS PREPARE FOR BATTLE:

In 1940, the U.S. Army formed an experimental platoon of paratroopers to test the new concept of parachuting soldiers onto the battlefield.

The parachute test platoon under the command of 1st Lieutenant William T. Ryder was formed at Fort Benning, GA from men of the 29th Infantry Regiment. On August 16, 1940, Lt. Ryder jumped from a B-18 Bomber above Fort Benning. Jumping right after him was Private William N. King, the first enlisted soldier to make a parachute jump for the U.S. Army.

Although controversial and unpopular with many senior U.S. Army officers, the parachute program grew in size thanks to the support of President Franklin Roosevelt and the ability of General William C. Lee, who would later be known as the “Father of the U.S. Airborne”.

In August 1942, General Lee was given command of the 101st Airborne Division proclaiming that “The 101st has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny.” General Lee would later help plan the parachute drop into Normandy but was recalled back to the United States before D-Day due to health problems.

U.S. Army Paratroopers took part in numerous Allied invasions in the Pacific, Mediterranean and European Theaters playing a critical role in the success of the operations.



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