The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) salutes all those Military Members who parachute, on National Airborne Day. In 1940, the first parachute jumps of 48 volunteer members of the U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon took place on August 16th, so we celebrate this day for those who choose to be airborne.
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin thought, back in the 18th century, that men would parachute from hot air balloons! “Ten Thousand Men descending from the Clouds, might [they] not in many Places do an infinite deal of Mischief, before a Force could be brought together to repel them?” he wrote after seeing a hot air balloon demonstration in 1784.
The Wright brothers and other aviation pioneers changed that, making airplanes commonplace in the 20th century. The first parachute test took place right before World War II began, which would become pivotal for the war, beginning with the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.
Today, Airborne School, widely known as Jump School, is conducted in Fort Benning, Georgia, for members of all the Armed Forces (except the Coast Guard) and cadets from the service academies. Most members are from the U.S. Army.
According to the Oral History on www.voicesofveterans.org, CPT Havana Schmidt from Fredericksburg graduated from West Point in 2014. During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years there, she attended Jump School. She loved it, and said, “I thought Airborne School was really fun…I don’t recommend anyone going to Georgia in the summertime for any reason, because it’s just so hot and humid, and you’re just sweating the entire time. But I had a lot of fun jumping out of planes and kind of getting that…Airborne School has maintained a lot of its tradition, so I was going through something similar to what a World War II paratrooper would have gone through, preparing for D-Day.”
13,000 elite paratroopers landed in France on D-Day, which began the end of World War II. These men saved Europe and the world from the Nazi regime.
The VLB salutes CPT Schmidt and all other Military Members who parachute from the skies and fulfill Benjamin Franklin’s dream of a force that could hardly be defended. Thank you for the great courage and sacrifice you demonstrate.
The VLB is happy to provide any needed help for these American heroes. The mission for the VLB is “to ensure that we offer the very best package of Veterans benefits in the country and those of us who work for the VLB strive to meet those goals every day. For more than 70 years, we have had the honor to serve Veterans, Military Members and their families in Texas, and we look forward to keeping that promise in the years to come.” Call 1–800–252–8387, email VLBinfo@glo.texas.gov, or visit vlb.texas.gov to see the different benefits available.