More than three thousand paratroopers gathered into a formation surrounding the flagpole at Pershing Field in front of USARAK Headquarters. They waited silently until a blast from a ceremonial cannon signaled the raising of the United States flag and reveille played With the morning ritual complete paratroopers set their gaze on Col. Jason J. Jones, Spartan Brigade Commander. He gave a short speech explaining the importance of National Airborne Day and the special place Spartans held in its creation. "I'm truly honored and privileged to serve as commander of the only arctic airborne brigade in the United States Army inventory," said Jones. The Spartan Brigade is one of five Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (Airborne) in the U.S. Army Jones told the paratroopers. In 2015, the Spartan Brigade performed the largest U.S. airborne mission north of the Arctic Circle by inserting nearly 150 paratroopers near Deadhorse, Alaska, in an operation to validate Soldier mobility across frozen terrain. National Airborne Day was proclaimed in 2002 by president George W. Bush and coincides with the Army's first official parachute jump by the Test Platoon 16 Aug., 1940., at Fort Benning, Georgia. Many of those first paratroopers went on to be members of the first airborne unit, the 501st Parachute Battalion. That Battalion continues to serve to this day as a member of the Spartan Brigade. Although it is now known as 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Spartan Brigade trains to strategically deploy and conduct decisive operations in order to deter and defeat adversaries, facilitate security cooperation and to contribute to a stable and secure Indo-Pacific region.