In “The Best Damn Fighting Outfit in the World” we learn about the history of airborne operations in the U.S. Army and how the 82nd Infantry Division because reorganized as the 82nd Airborne Division.
Sgt. 1st Class Alex Burnett joins us to talk about the history of airborne operations in Russia and Germany and how they would influence and shape the Army’s decision to stand up the first Airborne unit in the United States Military.
Major William Lee, the man credited with spearheading the concept of the airborne for the US, searches far and wide for ways to refine this concept including talking to the Smokejumpers in the Pacific Northwest and even using a 200-foot parachute tower from the New York State Fair to teach soldiers how to fall.
From there, the initial Parachute Test Platoon from the 29th Infantry Regiment would train and conduct the first airborne operation on August 16th, 1940 – known today as National Airborne Day.
In our second segment, Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Officer and Historian, talks to John Arsen, the curator of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, about how the Army would take this Airborne concept and apply it to the 82nd Infantry Division to create the 82nd Airborne Division. We explore different reasons for picking the 82nd, as well as what would have happened had this experiment failed.
The original days of the U.S. Army Airborne School weren't easy. Only the toughest made it as we learn from Sgt. 1st Class Burnett.
Finally, Dan Carlan – host of the hit podcast Hardcore History – joins us to talk about the historical context in place that drew the Americans into the war in Europe as well as the difficulties this new Division would face.
This show is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Office and hosted by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Burnett, Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, and Staff Sgt. Will Reinier.
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