Airborne 1943 - Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division jump en mass, during a demonstration at Oujda, French Morocco, North Africa, on 3 June 1943, shortly before the Sicily invasion. (World War II Signal Corps Collection). Photo courtesy of SOCOM.
SRES 207 ATS
S. RES. 207
Designating August 16, 2013, as ‘National Airborne Day’.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 31, 2013
Mr. REED (for himself, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. BEGICH, Mrs. HAGAN, Mr. REID, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. COCHRAN, Mr. WICKER, Mr. BLUMENTHAL, Mr. TESTER, Mr. BAUCUS, Mr. MORAN, Mr. ISAKSON, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. BURR, Mr. CASEY, and Mrs. MURRAY) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to
Designating August 16, 2013, as ‘National Airborne Day’.
Whereas the members of the airborne forces of the Armed Forces of the United States have a long and honorable history as bold and fierce warriors who, for the national security of the United States and the defense of freedom and peace, project the ground combat power of the United States by air transport to the far reaches of the battle area and to the far corners of the world;
Whereas the experiment of the United States with airborne operations began on June 25, 1940, when the Army Parachute Test Platoon was first authorized by the Department of War, and 48 volunteers began training in July 1940;
Whereas August 16 marks the anniversary of the first official Army parachute jump, which took place on August 16, 1940, to test the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind a battle line by means of a parachute;
Whereas the success of the Army Parachute Test Platoon in the days immediately before the entry of the United States into World War II validated the airborne operational concept and led to the creation of a formidable force of airborne formations that included the 11th, 13th, 17th, 82nd, and 101st Airborne Divisions;
Whereas, included in those divisions, and among other separate formations, were many airborne combat, combat support, and combat service support units that served with distinction and achieved repeated success in armed hostilities during World War II, and provide the lineage and legacy of many airborne units throughout the Armed Forces;
Whereas the achievements of the airborne units during World War II prompted the evolution of those units into a diversified force of parachute and air-assault units that, over the years, have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf region, and Somalia, and have engaged in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo;
Whereas, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the members of the United States airborne forces, including members of the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special operations forces of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, and other units of the Armed Forces, have demonstrated bravery and honor in combat, stability, and training operations in Afghanistan and Iraq;
Whereas the modern-day airborne forces also include other elite forces composed of airborne trained and qualified special operations warriors, including Army Special Forces, Marine Corps Reconnaissance units, Navy SEALs, and Air Force combat control and pararescue teams;
Whereas, of the members and former members of the United States airborne forces, thousands have achieved the distinction of making combat jumps, dozens have earned the Medal of Honor, and hundreds have earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, or other decorations and awards for displays of heroism, gallantry, intrepidity, and valor;
Whereas the members and former members of the United States airborne forces are all members of a proud and honorable tradition that, together with the special skills and achievements of those members, distinguishes the members as intrepid combat parachutists, air assault forces, special operation forces, and, in the past, glider troops;
Whereas individuals from every State in the United States have served gallantly in the airborne forces, and each State is proud of the contributions of its paratrooper veterans during the many conflicts faced by the United States;
Whereas the history and achievements of the members and former members of the United States airborne forces warrant special expressions of the gratitude of the people of the United States; and
Whereas, since the airborne forces, past and present, celebrate August 16 as the anniversary of the first official jump by the Army Parachute Test Platoon, August 16 is an appropriate day to recognize as National Airborne Day: Now, therefore, be it
(1) designates August 16, 2013, as ‘National Airborne Day’; and
(2) calls on the people of the United States to observe National Airborne Day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
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.
All the powers that be are on vacation up in Martha's vineyard. But the world and the news keep spinning. So do I. We cover Hillary & Obama making up after she slammed his Syria/Iraq policy, somehow conveniently forgetting she was Secretarty of State during those times. Then we shift to Iraq itself and O's laser focused solution.
Since the news broke, there have been a number of people working to use the sad news to try to reach out to troops/veterans that were at risk, as well as to educate about depression, stigma, and related issues. I could rant about ignorant posts and posters, but I'd rather focus on what's important: reaching out to those at risk, because if even one stops and thinks, and chooses not to follow...
The new social media manager for Mission: VALOR, Army veteran Jennifer Wilkins Perminas, sent me a post yesterday that she wasn't satisfied with. I thought it bloody marvelous, and said so. Here's a small taste:
His death brings me to a larger epidemic that I believe we need to discuss. Some folks believe that suicide is a selfish and a cowardly act- and they are entitled to their opinion. However, depression is not a condition to which one wakes up to and shouts “depression; come and get me!” It is invasive and relentless in its goal of permanently demoralizing an individual. You can look at depression as a parasite; once it finds a host, it will progressively deprive the miracle fiber called courage (as George Patton liked to say). Critics labeling suicide as a selfish and cowardly act is not only insulting the deceased; but are adding to the ignorance that depression does not discriminate.
Go read this wonderful post, at Mission: VALOR or on Facebook. If you are one of those thinking about leaving this way, please reach out. There are options, and there are people who care. There are links to resources, please follow them. Do not go.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrea Delosreyes inspects the boom with Airmen 1st Class Christopher Morgan and Jacob Manuel before an in-air refueling mission over Iraq, Aug. 12, 2014. Before each mission, the aircraft commander does a walk-around inspection to validate the safety of the aircraft. Delosreues, a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, and Morgan and Manuel, KC-135 Stratotanker engine mechanics, are assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.
I was in Atlantic City over the past few days. We took our L-39 Vandy 1 jet up there for an acro display and to show our wounded-warrior-transition-to-aviation-career non-profit organization. I did the announcing for our flight display so didn't get any pictures of our event. The Thunderbirds did fly, though, and put on a pretty spiffy show (as they would be expected to do) Here are a few pics from the afternoon.
Thunderbird Opposing Solo jets 5 and 6 perform their crossover maneuver at the Atlantic City Airshow, 13 Aug, 2014.
The USAF Thunderbird diamond formation enters into the flight demo arena, Atlantic City Airshow, 13 Aug 2014.
Thunderbird 3, slot aircraft, is reflected in the bottom of Thunderbird 1, Atlantic City Airshow, 13 Aug 2014.
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.
An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd is a great read. Not only does it have a riveting mysterious plot but it also has details about English society during World War I. Since this month marks the 100th anniversary of the war people might want to read this book to immerse themselves in that era.
The plot begins with World War I nurse Bess Crawford on leave to accompany a wounded soldier, Sergeant Jason Wilkins, to Buckingham Palace, where he’s to be decorated by the King. Her duties include escorting him back to the hotel and prepping him for his journey back. The next morning she checks in on him only to find he has disappeared. Bess is baffled because the missing Sergeant was presumably badly injured, confined to a wheelchair, and unable to walk out of the hotel by himself. A soldier is then found murdered outside of London a few days later and someone has recognized Sergeant Wilkins as the perpetrator.
Bess must face a number of ramifications for the Sergeant’s actions. Both the Army and the nursing service hold her negligent for losing the war hero. Scotland Yard comes calling to Bess’s door, and accuses her of irresponsibly for leaving her patient, allowing him to go AWOL, and possibly murder someone. She enlists her good family friend Simon to help solve the mysterious disappearance, restore her reputation, and clear her name.
She is somewhat hampered by what she can do and to gain access to information. The authors show through the characters the restrictions on women. A woman during that era was not free to travel alone. They are basically subservient to men including having to turn over any of their own property when married.
Another interesting part of the book is the comparison with that era and current times. How easily people take for granted the way detectives solve crimes today. During that period intuition, questioning, and connecting the dots were the tools used instead of DNA, ballistics, and fingerprints.
Readers are able to see the differences between serving then and now. The Todds explained to blackfive.net, “During World War I everywhere you went there were wounded. Think about the statistic that in England alone five million people died, and that number does not include those wounded. There was much more of a connection between the civilians and the military. That is why we put in the book, ‘Everyone was in uniform. Even the wounded had special ones to wear while recuperating to show the world they had done their duty.’ The wounded had special blue uniforms to show that they had served proudly and should be treated with respect. Consider that and compare it to the poor Vietnam vet who was treated so shamefully.”
They also commented, “Since this book deals with the subject of deserters, readers need to understand that during those times they were shot, pure and simple. Someone who did not carry out their duties was considered disgraceful. They were shunned by their family as much as the country. Women handed out white feathers to cowards who were not serving in the military. Even Rutledge who suffered from PTSD did not tell anyone how he felt because he was afraid he would be seen as a coward.”
An Unwilling Accomplice not only has an enthralling plot but also provides historical insight into the time period. As always there are wonderful plot twists, and an ending you might not expect. This book is a mystery, historical novel, and psychological thriller all rolled into one.
They also hope that fans will attend the Military Book Fair on November 8th on the USS Midway in San Diego, California. “We are looking forward to it. This family loves ships and has seen a lot of World War II vessels. It is going to be nice to meet people from the military who read our books, since military issues are the background of our novels. We hope people will come by and at least say hello.”
As even the Pope is on board now, surely there can be little objection to a few of us making a ride out to Kurdistan to defend the Yazidi and the Christians, and to strike a blow against this "Caliphate." The main problem will be funding, not finding volunteers. Logistics is always the problem, and the government of the United States will not be reliable at least as long as the current bunch is in charge. All the more reason to do as our ancestors from Tennessee did when they rode out to Texas to contest Santa Anna, or as our ancestors from the American Volunteer Group did when they rode out to China to contest Imperial Japan, or as many others have done in the history of these conflicts.
We will need some money, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have to build an organization from the ground. It has been done before, though, and often in the history of the West. There is no reason we cannot do it too.
The news tonight is sad, as it appears that Robin Williams is dead via his own hand. The man was a comedic genius who also had a gift for making people think as well as laugh. He was a friend to the troops in public and in private, and made multiple trips downrange to entertain as far foward as he was allowed, with one proviso -- he wanted no publicity for doing so. He's one of a handful of entertainers in this category, and whatever his politics he made a clear distinction between what he thought of policy versus what he thought of the troops. The latter he respected and did what he could for them, and at the least went to places unexpected to give a gift of laughter and a moment of respite.
My thoughts, our thoughts, go out to his family and those he leaves behind.
For those that struggle with depression, and especially for those who serve/have serve who fight this fight, I ask you to accept that you are not alone and to reach out. There is good food for thought here that I commend to you.
Adding this clip, that is a favorite of mine (and Col. Kratman's as it turns out). There's been some discussion of if he truly was as clueless as he makes himself out to be (I'm inclined to think he's not, but playing to the story), but it really doesn't matter. What does matter is how fast he stopped, became respectful, and even remembered (eventually) to take his hat off.