|THE AIRBORNE COURSE
Although the mission of the ground force soldier, "to close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver in order to destroy or capture him or to repel his assault by fire, close combat and counterattack, " has remained the same down through the years, his method of entry into combat has undergone radical changes.
Today, by the use of air transport, we can overcome the obstacles of time and space to set the American soldier down where he can close with that enemy with the maximum surprise and the minimum delay.
Fort Benning, Georgia, can truly be called the "Cradle of American Airborne." The first test unit, composed of forty-eight (48) enlisted and two (2) officer volunteers, was formed at this post in June of 1940 and made thier first jump in August of that year. There have been well over 1,000,000 student parachute jumps made here at Fort Benning, to date.
Up until January 1946 the training was aimed at parachute qualification but since that date, the student is given the training necessary for him to enter combat by the use of the powered aircraft or the parachute. These men are still infantrymen, artillerymen, or members of the supporting services who merely are utilizing a new means of transportation.
The question has often been asked: "Just what does an individual have to do to qualify as a parachutist, or what does the Airborne Course consist of and how is it conducted?