The US Army Airborne School, located at Ft. Benning, Georgia, is one of the activities cadets may participate in between their MSII and MSIII year. The school is three weeks long and consists of ground week, tower week, and jump week. The purpose of Airborne School is to qualify the cadet in the use of the parachute and to develop leadership, confidence, and excellence through training.
Ground week consists of learning the PLF or Parachute Landing Fall. The instructors explain that anyone can fall out of an aircraft but conducting a proper PLF will prevent injuries. Ground week also focuses on other individual skills such as exiting a mock aircraft door, the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), the 34 foot tower and the Lateral Drift Apparatus (LDA). To proceed to Tower week students must qualify in proper PLFs on the LDA, proper exit out of the mock door, and they must pass the APFT.
Tower week consists of the activities completed during Ground week only on team basis. During Tower week students will drop in groups of 4 off the 34 foot tower, master techniques to avoid parachute malfunctions, train in the suspended harness, complete mass mock door exits, and conduct Swing Landing Training (SLT). Some students may have the chance to train on the famous 250 foot tower to simulate falling and correct landing. To proceed to Jump week students must qualify on the 34 foot tower and SLT, along with completing the runs during PT in the mornings to standard.
Jump week consists of 5 jumps from a C130 or C17 aircraft, landing on Fryar Drop Zone in Alabama. Students will run from the barracks to the harness shed and conduct pre-jump training prior to jumping. After training students will then be strapped into their harnesses and wait for their chalks to be called. The first two jumps are known as Hollywood jumps, jumping with parachute and reserve only, and are conducted on the first day. The next day students will conduct their first combat jump, jumping with a ruck sack by your feet and a weapons case on your left side. Your first jump this day will be a combat jump and your fourth a Hollywood. The last day consists of one last jump. The fifth and final jump is another combat jump, only this time it is performed at night.
Airborne graduates are among the most elite soldiers in the US Army. Every Army Ranger and US Special Forces Soldier is AIRBORNE qualified. AIRBORNE!
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