Allen West “American military history remembers its great Airborne units”


Written by Allen West on October 22, 2013

Two hundred and sixteen years ago on this day, in 1797, a Frenchman named Andrew Garnerin became the first person known to jump with a frame-less parachute. Interestingly, the first female parachutist was his student Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse, who later became his wife. Little did Garnerin know he would be the inspiration for a new generation of soldier: the Sky Trooper, Airborne, the Paratrooper.

I am honored to be counted as one of those who have braved the fear of jumping from an aircraft while in flight, a storied history that bonds men and women from countries far and wide. American military history remembers its great Airborne units who have made such incredible combat operations as Salerno, Normandy, Market Garden, Tagaytay, Corregidor, Sukchon, Junction City, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The lineage of the Airborne trooper is interwoven into modern American history, and it extends across all branches of our services: Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Monsieur Garnerin undoubtedly had no idea that his simple stunt would result in the development of a new strategic military tactic, giving rise to the motto of all American Paratroopers regardless of age, “Airborne, All the Way.”

However, the greatest testimony to the Sky Soldier comes from the words of a towering leader from World War II, British Field Marshal Bernard Law “Monty” Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein:

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19 responses to “Allen West “American military history remembers its great Airborne units”

  1. Would like to know what Airborne unit you were in — 82nd? 101st? My husband was a Green Beret — Special Forces Group Airborne, trained in a German paratrooper camp Schongau, Germany (rather than Fort Benning, Georgia) because he was already in Germany.

    • LTC Allen West entered active duty on November 1, 1983, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he completed the Field Artillery Officer’s Basic Course. He then proceeded to airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia where he received his Parachutist Badge. West’s first assignment was as an airborne infantry fire support officer and platoon leader, as well as Battalion Training Officer for 4th Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in Vicenza, Italy under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth R. Needham.

      • Thank you for being here and with us.

        It was the 325th Glider and 456 Field Artillery in WWII. My father, Robert W. Landl, served from North Africa through ‘downtown’ Sainte Mere Eglise as the radioman for F company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Malaria took him back to the States and Harmon General Hospital in Brownville, Texas. Then back to Fort Benning, Georgia as a jumpmaster and instructor until war’s end.

  2. Always welcome a fellow trooper, LTC West ,, keep a stiff upper lip and don’t let the small stuff get in your way ,, Specialist 5th Class Grayeagle , 101st ABD “C” Company “CHOPIN CHARLEY” 502nd battle Group 1960/1966 … The 82nd in my days were referred to as Almost Airborne ,,, but we were all Brothers in Arms ,,

  3. Hello LTC West,

    In 1983, you a 2nd Lieutenant in Delta Battery 4/325, in Vicenza, Italy. At that time I was a Sp4 in a TOW platoon in CSC 4/325. I now remember seeing you around Caserma Ederle. Keep up the good work!

    Airborne All the Way!

    Best Wishes, Steve