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National Airborne Day, observed on August 16th each year, celebrates the accomplishments of Army parachute tradition. The Army’s Airborne Rangers and the Army Golden Knights parachute team are among the best-known American paratrooper organizations, and the accomplishments of Army paratroopers are noted across more than seven decades of service including the Iraq war in 2003. August 16, 1940, marks the date of the first official Army parachute jump at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
What Is National Airborne Day?
The Airborne Rangers were honored by President George W. Bush in 2002; when there was a presidential proclamation that August 16th be known as National Airborne Day. The President’s statement includes the following:
“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. As we face the challenges of a new era, I encourage all people to recognize the contributions of these courageous soldiers to our Nation and the world.”
Seven years later in 2009, the Senate recognized National Airborne Day with Resolution 235.
How Is National Airborne Day Celebrated?
Since National Airborne Day is not a national holiday, it’s often up to the local base communities that have Airborne Ranger communities to organize and plan activities and awareness-raising events to honor August 16th. Many of these events are planned by Airborne Ranger Associations, which function in a similar way to college alumni associations.
For example, in 2015, The 82nd Airborne Division Association, Benavidez-Patterson Chapter in El Paso, Texas celebrated the Army’s 75th anniversary of their very first airborne jump with a chapter open hous