Something dramatic and historic occurred on March 1, 1912, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. The first parachute jump from an airplane took place establishing a military capability that played an important role in helping secure freedom in the world.
At noon, on Friday, March 1, 2013, five famous U.S. Army Airborne units will pay tribute to the members of that “First Jump” team and to the men and women who served as U.S. Army paratroopers since that time.
St. Louis businessman Thomas Benoist had the idea for the original jump – to show a “pusher biplane” he designed was capable of carrying two men, one of whom would drop from the aircraft. Also, that pilots like Anthony Jannus who trained at Benoist’s aviation school, were capable of controlling the aircraft’s flight. Further, that a parachutist, Captain Albert Berry, the son of a balloonist, could successfully parachute from 1,500 feet onto the Parade Ground at Jefferson Barracks.
To commemorate the 101st anniversary of the “first jump”, Lewis Sanborn, 83, a Master Parachutist and veteran of the 82nd Airborne, will represent five sponsoring units by parachuting onto the parade grounds at 12:45 p.m. Watching his feat will be hundreds of dignitaries, invited military guests and the public.
Two monuments will be dedicated prior to the jump: a pedestal marker with the story of the original jump, and a granite tribute stone to members of the five sponsor Army Airborne Units: the 82nd Airborne, the 101st Airborne, the 173rd Airborne, the 187th Airborne, and the Special Forces (Airborne).