The Airborne and Special Operations Museum hosted National Airborne Day, Saturday, and celebrated 17 years of honoring and preserving the legendary feats of airborne and special operations troops and the 60th anniversary of the United States Army’s Test Platoons first parachute jump.
Members from all walks of the military community and civilians came out to listen to music from the 82nd Airborne Division Rock Band and the 82nd Division All American Chorus.
Attendees got hands on experience with a variety of military equipment, including weaponry, helmets and chest rigs. Visitors were also able to try on parachutes.
“If they want to throw on a parachute, we help them rig up and answer any questions that they have,” said Sgt. Zachary Davies, 11th Quartermaster Company, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade.
Davies said veterans had the most popular question, asking what the difference between the older T-10 and newer T-11 parachutes are.
“The T-11 has the slider to reduce the twist. It slows the rate of descent, and so that we prevent injuries,” explained Davies.
In addition to static displays the U.S. Army Airborne School created a mock door demonstration.
“The mock-up in the mock-aircraft is everything that happens prior to exiting the aircraft, all the way through exiting and the deployment of the chute and then they’re going to have an actual free fall demonstration,” said Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Mediano, USAAS, tower committee chief.
In addition to static displays and mock door demonstrations, members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers Parachute Demonstration Team executed a High Altitude-Low Opening jump demonstration.
One demonstrator explained how much he loves bringing the spectacle of HALO jumps to the public.
“My favorite thing about being a Black Dagger would be …the public interaction — getting to interface with the public and talk with them about what we do what USASOC does … the people, the kids,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chance Carico, demonstrator, USASOC Black Daggers.
Janet and Retired Col. Jay McNulty, or “nana and pop,” drove their two grandsons to Fayetteville from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina to attend the day’s activities.
They felt it was important for the boys to understand what Soldiers do.
“One percent of our nations eligible youth join the Army and I think sometimes people just forget what fantastic young men and women they are but I wanted these guys to see that,” said Jay.
“Everything the Soldiers do warms your heart,” said Janet.
Their grandsons were very excited about the HALO jump demonstration.
“It was pretty cool,” said Addison Fagan.
“I agree with my brother, when they (paratroopers) touched together it kind of looks like a TIE fighter from Star Wars,” said Taylor Fagan.