President's Proclamation for National Airborne Day, Aug. 16 2001
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2001 – Sixty-one years ago, 48 brave volunteer
members of the U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon pioneered a new
method of warfare. Their successful jump led to the creation of a
mighty force of more than 100,000 paratroopers. Members of this
force were assigned to the legendary 11th, 13th, 17th, 82d and 101st
Airborne Divisions and numerous other units that fought in every
theater during World War II.
The soldiers of the Parachute Test Platoon also forged a unique
warrior spirit, a relentless passion for victory, and a reputation
that still strikes fear in potential adversaries. Beginning with the
first combat jump by the men of the 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute
Infantry Regiment, over North Africa in November 1942, airborne and
special operations soldiers have made a total of 93 combat jumps.
Since World War II, paratroopers have continually distinguished
themselves in battle, earning 69 Congressional Medals of Honor and
hundreds of other awards for valor.
Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the first official Army
parachute jump, I join all Americans in recognizing these heroes. We
salute our Nation's sky troopers, both past and present, for their
great service and personal sacrifice in the defense of freedom and
liberty around the world.
Best wishes to all for a memorable observance.
GEORGE W. BUSH