The Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Fort Benning community celebrated National Airborne Day with a graduation ceremony for the nation’s newest paratroopers August 19 at Fryar Field Drop Zone.
Former president George W. Bush proclaimed August 16, 2001, as the first National Airborne Day to commemorate the first official American parachute jump, made at Fort Benning August 16, 1940, by the U.S. Army's Parachute Test Platoon.
The graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of several hundred Airborne School students with U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course (BAC), Bravo Company class 30-22.
Pvt. Rylee Montague from, Burke, Virginia, one of these students, said jumping during National Airborne Day means a lot to her.
“It feels phenomenal. I’m so excited. I can’t believe this is really happening,” said Montague. “My parents were a big influence for me. Knowing they have already done this gave me the courage to go ahead and attend Airborne School.”
The U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course trains some 10,000 military personnel each year as military parachutists. Airborne candidates include not only U.S. Army Soldiers and members of other U.S. armed forces but also international military forces.
Students learn to use the parachute as a means of combat deployment and to develop leadership, self-confidence, and an aggressive spirit through mental and physical conditioning.
Montague also had a special guest in attendance to see her jump.
“She is getting her wing just like I did,” said Montague’s mother, Maj. Kyle Meisner, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. “She is doing her own thing, choosing her own path, doing what she wants to do. I couldn’t be more proud.”
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