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Airborne School: Paratroopers, Army Rangers, Special Forces

Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA is usually three weeks following Basic Training consisting of Ground Week, Tower Week, and Jump Week.

The first week of the Basic Airborne Course is dedicated to teaching prospective troopers how to land properly to minimize the potential for injury and general familiarization with the T-10D and T-11 parachute. During Ground Week, you learn how you're supposed to jump, activate your reserve parachute and recover from "the drag" -- being dragged across the drop zone if the wind catches your chute.

During Tower Week, trainees learn about all the bad things that can happen, like landing in trees, water, etc., and how to get out of those situations. The second week of Jump School concentrates on the jump towers. Prospective troopers will continue using the 34-foot tower in addition to the swing-landing trainer, a suspended harness trainer, and occasionally the 250-foot tower. Soldiers will become familiar with the mock door trainer to simulate mass exit training (how to exit an aircraft in flight). Additionally, prospective troopers are taught the different phases of parachute flight from aircraft exit, through opening shock and chute deployment, then onto the deployment of the risers, steering the chute, and all the way to landing.

Jump Week is the culmination of the training, where the students have to complete five jumps from an airplane at 1,250 feet. Soldiers get to practice their new skills while jumping out of aircraft in flight. The C-130 or C-17 aircraft pick up the paratrooper students in front of the hangar at Lawson Army Airfield. From there it is a very short flight to Fryar Field (commonly referred to as "Fryar Drop Zone"), where all of the training jumps are accomplished. A soldier must complete five jumps, normally including at least one night jump, to graduate Airborne School. During jump week, the schedule varies and soldiers will jump in a variety of configurations from unloaded Hollywood to fully equipped and loaded Combat jumps. Jump week can seem chaotic, with a large group of soldiers gathered in the ready-room waiting to be loaded onto the aircraft one chalk at a time. Immediately after landing on the Drop Zone (DZ), the soldiers collect their parachutes and other gear and meet back at the rally point on one side of the DZ, where they wait for a bus to take them back to Lawson Army Airfield to get ready for their next jump.

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, the student is awarded:

  • United States Army Parachutist Badge (commonly referred to as "Jump Wings")

  • Orders certificating authorizing its wear of the badge

  • P ASI (Additional Skill Identifier) regardless of branch of service or MOS.


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