We haven’t used the Airborne since Normandy. We don’t fight those kinds of wars anymore. Only Special Operations need to jump out of airplanes? What are you taking, crazy pills? Maybe just a smug keyboard commando who knows it all, and yet failed to serve. Perhaps an astroturfing puppet out to spread propaganda in the name of a “grassroots” faux-campaign to discredit the functionality of military.
Despite the rhetoric, there is a much larger fighting force defending freedom and democracy. Special Ops are not the only folks warfighting on the global front of these many wars. There are Combat Engineers, Infantry, Calvary and Artillery units amongst a host of others who step out into the danger zone by exiting an aircraft. Big surprise, Hollywood, and the hype is full of it.
As for the rest . . . since Normandy, and we don’t fight in those kinds of wars anymore? Hey, short-sighted, elitist, hipster – Rome wants its citizens back for the fall of that empire . . . try not to be simple.
Here is a light history of Post WWII Airborne Operations that are not Special Operations centric:
Mali – 2013, 250 French paratroopers from the 11th Parachute Brigade jumped into northern Mali to support an offensive to capture the city of Timbuktu
Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat – 2009, Pakistan Army’s paratroopers conducted combat jump operations to seize control of strategic mountain areas in order to support special forces and infantry troops.
Iraq’03 – On March 26, 2003 the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted a combat jump into northern Iraq, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to seize an airfield and support special forces: Task Force Viking.
On March 23, 2003 3/75 Ranger Regiment conducted a combat jump into northern Iraq to seize a desert airfield.
Afghanistan ’01 – the 3rd Ranger Battalion and a small command and control element from the regimental headquarters of the 75th Ranger Regiment jumped into Kandahar to secure an airfield.
Panama – The U.S invasion of Panama, U.S. 82nd Airborne Division made its first combat jump in over 40 years. The 1st Brigade of the 82nd secured Omar Torrijos International Airport in Tocumen, Panama.
Operation Atilla – 1974 several landings by Turkish paratroopers took place at north, of Nicosia during the invasion of Cyprus.
Operation Meghdoot – April 13, 1984, a preemptive strike was launched by the Indian Military to capture most of the Siachen Glacier, in the disputed Kashmir region.
Soviet and Russian VDV – The VDV (from “Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii”, Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска России, ВДВ; Air-landing Forces) have participated in most Soviet and Russian conflicts since WWII, including the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Nearly as elite as their American counterparts, the VDV developed a distinctive the famous blue beret. Airborne assault (десантно-штурмовые войска or DShV) as opposed to the American maroon beret [author’s note: their beret looks like UN color.] Like American paratroopers that also insert via rotary and fixed wing aircraft.
Rhodesian Bush War – Fireforce tactical envelopment, developed in January 1974 and saw its first action a month later on 24 February 1974. By the end of Rhodesian operations with internal peace agreements, Fireforce was a well-developed counterinsurgency tactic.
Vietnam War – In 1963, in the Battle of Ap Bac, ARVN forces delivered airborne troops by helicopter and air drop.
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In February 1967 Operation Junction City was launched, it would be the largest operation the Coalition Force would assemble – 845 members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), the 319th Artillery (Airborne), and elements of H&H company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade made the only combat jump in Vietnam.
Indonesian Invasion of East Timor – The Indonesian Army used airborne troops in their 1975 invasion of East Timor.
Indo-Pakistani War ’71 – Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army fought in numerous contacts in both the Eastern and Western Theatres.
Indo-Pakistan War ’65 – Paratroopers were first used in combat in South Asia during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
First Indochina War – The French used paratroops extensively during their 1946–54 war against the Viet Minh.
Korean War – The 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (“Rakkasans”) made two combat jumps in Korea
Still on the fence? Send airfare for 10 to the author, and Buck Clay accompanied by a gang of paratroopers will visit your home or place of work a wall-to-wall counseling session on America’s Airborne Forces.
Featured Image – Proficiency Jump in conjunction with Sapper Stakes, Sicily DZ, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Image courtesy of Buck Clay
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