By Bonnie HeaterJune 29, 2010
An elite group of Signaleers literally dropped in on the weeklong celebration of the 150th Signal Corps Anniversary at Fort Gordon.
Members of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Fort Benning, Ga.; the 112th Signal Battalion from Fort Bragg, N.C., and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) out of Fort Campbell, Ky., parachuted 1,000 feet from a C-130 Hercules June 21 onto the marked drop zone at Training Area 23 on post.
All the Rangers involved in the day's jump were Signal Corps Soldiers.
Air National Guardsmen from the 189th Airlift Wing located at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas flew the special mission. Ten Soldiers exited out through the rear ramp of the four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft during each pass over the drop zone. Four passes were made beginning shortly after noon.
With winds from the East at two knots, conditions were favorable for the drop. As each Ranger glided to the ground they readied themselves for the impact. Jumpers let their legs absorb the shock as trained in the Army Basic Airborne course at Fort Benning, Ga.
Each rolled, then stood and quickly collected their chute; released their harness; packed their chutes and briskly walked out of the drop zone.
All 39 rangers landed safely.
"The purpose of the mission was to commemorate the 150th birthday of the Signal Corps," said Tracy Bailey, the 75th Ranger Regiment public affairs officer. "We are hoping some of the male Soldiers in the 25 series career field will want to join the 75th Ranger Regiment."
One of the jumpers, Master Sgt. Harry Ferguson, assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, appreciated being a part of this special drop. "This meant a lot to me since the [Army] Signal Corps has been around since the 1860s," he said. "It's 150 years old today!
"Part of my job is to recruit for the regiment," said Ferguson. One of the biggest misconceptions is only 11B, [infantrymen], can be rangers.
"Signaleers can join and enjoy both worlds," he added. "They get to be a techie geek and jump out of a plane on a beautiful day like this."
Following the drop, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Foley, commanding general, U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, gave a brief summary of the Army's Signal Corps history.
Later, the general and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Clark, the Regimental Command Sergeant Major, presented framed commemorative certificates to all three of the Ranger units involved in the historical jump.
Foley also gave each Ranger his command coin.