Salute To AIRBORNE!:

The Army will honor the 75th anniversary of the American paratrooper with — what else? — a large jump into Fort Benning, Georgia.

The commemoration, led by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, will mark 75 years since the War Department approved the formation of a test platoon of airborne infantry from Fort Benning’s 29th Infantry Regiment. Less than 45 days after it was formed, on Aug. 16, 1940, members of the test platoon made their first jump from a Douglas B-18 over Lawson Army Airfield.

On Aug. 15, today’s paratroopers, along with the Liberty Jump Team, a group of civilian World War II airborne reenactors, will jump into that very same airfield.

“This entire year, we’ve been very cognizant of the 75th anniversary,” said Lt. Col. Korey Brown, commander of 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and commander of the U.S. Army Airborne School. “It’s a very key year for the airborne community.”

The concept of airborne soldiers originated with founding father Benjamin Franklin, who envisioned a time when soldiers would be delivered to the battlefield from the air, Brown said.

In World War I, Britain’s Winston Churchill proposed the creation of an airborne force.

The U.S. was “actually late” to adopt airborne capability, doing so after the Germans, the Soviets and other nations had done so, Brown said.