This 16 august is the day of a special anniversary: the 82nd anniversary of the very first military paratrooper parachute jump in the history of the United States, by lieutenant William T. Ryder. The 16 august of the calendar is therefore known as the National Airborne Day, which was instituted by president Bush on august 14 2002. Ryder was apart of the 200 volunteer soldiers selected to form the first paratrooper platoon, who was billeted at Lawson Army Air Field, in Fort Benning. He finished the written exam, which was supposed to take 2 hours, in 45 minutes, managing to still earn the top score! After having followed an intensive training designed by himself, Ryder and 10 members of the platoon embarked aboard a Douglas C-33 and effectively jumped on the first military paratrooper jump of the US Army, on august 16 1940. Ryder then became parachute training officer of the Airborne Command at Camp Mackall, near Fort Bragg. Despite his technical prowesses, his pioneering in the discipline, and his irreproachable physical condition, to his deep dismay, Ryder was officially deployed in combat only for Operation Husky: in july 1943, he jumped alongside James Gavin in Sicily. Nonetheless, instead of it, he was still assigned missions of the highest regard. He was notably appointed to advise General MacArthur on airborne operations in February 1944 in Brisbane, Australia. Following the end of the conflict, Ryder notably worked as expert in guided missile systems, at the Pentagon, from 1963 to 1966, after which he retired and moved to Pinehurst, South Carolina to enjoy tranquillity with his wife.
82nd anniversary of the first military paratrooper jump during World War II