National Airborne Day

National Airborne Day is a holiday celebrated on August 16th, meant to honor the remarkable achievements of airborne divisions in the U.S. military. It’s a day when people can take time to thank a paratrooper or show veterans from airborne units a little bit of love and recognize them for the sacrifices they have made to keep us all safe.

The History Of National Airborne Day

National Airborne Day was established by a proclamation by U.S. President George W. Bush on August 14th, 2002, but it was not officially recognized by the U.S. Senate until August 3, 2009. This is the date that the Senate issued Senate Resolution 235, establishing August 16th of every year as National Airborne Day.

Why is August 16th the date chosen for the observation of this holiday? That’s because it was on that date in 1940 when the first official U.S. Army parachute jump was performed at Fort Benning, Georgia. The success of this jump proved to the military the effectiveness of using airborne units as a way to insert troops behind enemy lines.

The first U.S. airborne operation began a little over two years later when the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was launched in North Africa in November of 1942. This operation was part of Operation Torch—which initially turned out to be unsuccessful.

That’s because only ten aircraft actually dropped their troops on target, while the remaining troops carried dropped near a dry lake bed near their target after almost running out of fuel. However, the 509th Battalion did achieve its objective by marching overland to the target.

On November 15th, over 350 paratroopers were successfully dropped on Youks-Les-Bains Airfield in Algeria. During World War II, the United States’ 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions saw significant action in the European Theater—with operations in Italy, Normandy, and the Netherlands.

In 1944, the 17th Airborne Division was deployed to England but didn’t engage in combat until they were deployed during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. They were joined by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions that were deployed as ground troops.

Today, there are thousands of airborne forces that are jump-rated and could be deployed. These include Special Forces units such as the U.S. Rangers, Navy SEALs, and Green Berets. There are also many jump-qualified support and training units in full operation.

Celebrating National Airborne Day

One of the best ways to celebrate this holiday is by thanking a paratrooper for their service. People can also celebrate the holiday by using the hashtag #NationalAirborneDay on their social media accounts. Those who have paratroopers in their family might also want to celebrate the day with a celebration.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 16 Friday
Next year (2025)
August 16 Saturday
Last year (2023)
August 16 Wednesday
Culture & History