The Army Airborne and the start to Camp MacKall

Pacific Paratrooper

Airborne, Camp MacKall

The original idea for an American airborne came from Gen. Billy Mitchell in 1918. His commander, Gen. Pershing agreed, but once the WWI Armistice was signed, the plan was terminated. In the late 1920’s, Germany began training parachute units and in the 1930’s, they led the world in gliders. Russia created the Air Landing Corps in 1935. Japan started in 1940 with German instructors. The U.S. did not take note until Germany was successful on Crete in 1941.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

The American tradition was born when 48 men jumped at Ft. Benning on Aug. 16, 1940, where Private Eberhard, promised to yell to his buddies below, was the first to shout out “Geronimo”. General William Lee is considered the “Father of the Airborne.” My father, Everett Smith or “Smitty” (as you’ll get to know him), did not care for heights or…

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