Also known as Jump School, the United States Army Airborne School is a special military training school for paratroopers. It’s operated by the 1st Battalion, 507th Infantry, United States Army Infantry School, at Fort Benning, Georgia. To learn more about the U.S. Army Airborne School, keep reading.
It’s Completely Voluntary
Unlike many other training courses in the military, the Army Airborne School is completely voluntary. All students must volunteer if they want to attend the course, meaning no student is forced to sign up for training. Nonetheless, it attracts thousands of new recruits each year, many of whom are eager to earn their wings and become a paratrooper.
It’s More than Half a Century Ago
To say the U.S. Army Airborne School is “old” would be an understatement. It’s actually more than half a century old, with origins dating back to the 1940s. Back then, the War Department gave the green light to form a test platoon of paratroopers under the control of the Army’s Infantry Board. This test platoon was formed at Fort Benning under the direction to develop reference data for air-transported troops. This laid the foundation for what would later become the Army Airborne School.
First Week is Injury Prevention
The Army Airborne School consists of three weeks of training, the first of which focuses on injury prevention. During the first week, students are taught how to land while minimizing the risk of injury with the T-10D and T-11 parachute. The T-10D parachute is the traditional round-shaped parachute, while the T-11 is a square-shaped parachute used for static line extractions.
Second Week is Jump Towers
Following injury prevention training, the second week of the Army Airborne School focuses on jump towers. Students use the 34-foot tower and swing-landing trainer (along with the occasional 250-foot tower) to familiarize themselves with the jumping process. They are also taught different phrases of the parachute flight and how to properly exit from aircraft. The second week completes the student’s individual skill training, with the remaining time left spent at Airborne School involving building teamwork skills.
Instructors are Called “Black Hats”
Instructors at the Army Airborne School are called “black hats” in reference to their black-colored baseball caps featuring rank insignias and badges. However, students at the school must address them as Sergeant at all times, or in the case of the Navy, Petty Officer.