On Aug. 16, 1940, the Parachute Test Platoon made their first parachute jump.
In June of 1940, 200 soldiers volunteered for the Parachute Test platoon. Of that 200, 48 enlisted and two officers were chosen to be the first paratroopers. Less than 45 days after stepping forward to volunteer they made their first jump on the morning of Aug. 16, 1940.
Lt. William Ryder, platoon leader, was the first to jump and Private William “Red” King soon followed to be the first enlisted airborne paratrooper. This day is now celebrated as National Airborne Day.
On Aug. 16, 2000, the doors opened to the Airborne & Special Operation Museum in Fayetteville, the 60th anniversary of the original Test Platoon’s first parachute jump.
On Aug. 19, the Airborne & Special Operation Museum in Fayetteville celebrated the 17th anniversary and honored National Airborne Day. Happy Feet 4-H club from Sampson County went to the museum to celebrate National Airborne Day and learn about its history and the Army.
During the ceremony, fallen paratroopers were honored with the laying of two symbolic black roses on monuments flanking the museum’s entrance, followed by a moment of silence. The event included static displays of XVIII Airborne Corps and US Army Special Operations equipment, and mock door demonstrations. The 82nd Airborne Division’s All American chorus sang the national anthem during the opening ceremony and performed throughout the day. 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Rock Band also entertained during event. Visitors had opportunities to try on parachute. Saturday’s event ended with a Halo demonstration by U.S. Army Golden Knights and the USASOC Black Daggers.