W. Thomas Smith Jr. honored the Airborne family a few years ago. I loved that he remembered the old joke. I wonder what the school is like these days (I know that the Donovan visited it a year or two ago):
Sixty-six years of Airborne combat
From the early Parachute Test Platoon to modern special operations forces
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
When I attended jump school more than 25 years ago, there was a saying among non-paratroopers that ground week separated the men from the boys. Tower week separated the fools from the men. And during the third and final week, the fools jumped.
Of course, it was all light-hearted jabbing and a bit of sincere professional jealousy.
We knew then – as every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine knows today – there is something special about a combat-trained parachutist or paratrooper, something uncommon that sets him apart from the ordinary foot-soldier.
It’s not simply the fact that a paratrooper jumps out of a perfectly good airplane – though not everyone has the physical courage to do that – but he does so ready to fight, knowing full-well that he will probably be outnumbered by the enemy on the ground; certainly surrounded; and that his survival depends on his ability to catch the enemy by surprise; kill him, perhaps in close quarters; and continue to fight with limited food, equipment, and ammunition until he is reinforced by heavier ground units...
After the jump, today violating our own foul language rules (AWTM!), is some NSFW Airborne humor.