August 16 is celebrated as National Airborne Day, remembering the day in 1940 when 48 soldiers became the first paratroopers of the U.S. Army’s Test Parachute Platoon. That jump launched an entirely new approach to combat that would set apart the U.S. Army’s airborne forces. Seventy-six years later, U.S. paratroopers are still “throwing themselves out of perfectly good airplanes,” but nowhere more so than at Fort Bragg—right in the heart of Cumberland County, North Carolina.
This weekend presents visitors to the area with a few unique opportunities to celebrate our airborne forces, starting with an 82nd Airborne Division Jump Day on Friday, August 12. As per routine, aircraft will be dropping their passengers mid-air all day, and spectators may take in the action from two different Fort Bragg drop zones, Sicily and Luzon. Be advised that jumps may be cancelled, with no notice given, due to weather or other circumstances. Also, Fort Bragg requires either a DoD ID or a Visitor Pass.
Friday night, pack a picnic dinner for the family and head downtown, to Festival Park, for Kids’ Night with the Army Ground Forces Band. Fort Bragg is privileged to be “home base” for this special band, which travels all over the U.S. performing throughout the year. On this night geared toward kids, the Special Operations Parachute Demonstration Team known as the “Black Daggers” will be dropping in for a visit, and the kids will be well entertained by an instrument factory, interactive stories, and a march-along with the Ceremonial Drum Major.
The greater Fayetteville area loves any excuse to celebrate the history of the airborne forces stationed right in their midst, and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) provides that opportunity every year with an event worthy of a “Hooah!”. The ASOM’s National Airborne Day Celebration is scheduled for the morning of Saturday, August 13, and will include a HALO demonstration (high-altitude jump) by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the Black Daggers, performances by the 82nd Airborne Division’s All-American Chorus and more.
For additional information on the ASOM, one of many military museums and sites in Cumberland County, check out this week’s featured blog, “On the Trail of ‘All-American’ History.” Many other events are happening throughout the weekend in the greater Fayetteville area, and details on those can be found on Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Calendar of Events.