TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN COMBAT GLIDER PILOTS OF WORLD WAR II

                                                         

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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—SENATE S8700 

 

August 3, 2009 

 

States.

NATIONAL AIRBORNE DAY

 

Mr. Dodd. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the neat now proceed to the consideration of S. Res.235, which was submitted earlier today.

 

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.

 

The legislative clerk read as follows:

 

A resolution (S. Res. 235) designating August 16, 2009, as ‘‘National Airborne Day.’’

 

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. Dodd. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements be printed in the RECORD. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

\

The resolution (S. Res. 235) was agreed to.  The preamble was agreed to. The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows:

 

S. RES. 235

Whereas the airborne forces of the Armed Forces have a long and honorable history as units of adventuresome, hardy, and fierce warriors who, for the national security of the United States and the defense of freedom and peace, project the effective ground combat power of the United States by Air Force air transport to the far reaches of the battle area and, indeed, to the far corners of the world; 

 

Whereas August 16 marks the anniversary of the first official Army parachute jump on August 16, 1940, an event that validated the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind a battle line by means of a parachute; 

 

Whereas the United States experiment with airborne infantry attack began on June 25, 1940, when the Army Parachute Test Platoon was first authorized by the Department of War, and was launched when 48 volunteers began training in July 1940;

 

Whereas the success of the Army Parachute Test Platoon in the days immediately before the entry of the United States into World War II led to the formation of a formidable force of airborne units that have served with distinction and have had repeated success in armed hostilities;

 

Whereas among those airborne units are the former 11th, 13th, and 17th Airborne Divisions, the venerable 82nd Airborne Division, the versatile 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the airborne regiments and battalions (some as components of those divisions, some as separate units) that achieved  distinction as the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 187th Infantry (Airborne) Regiment, the

503rd, 507th, 508th, 517th, 541st, and 542nd Parachute Infantry Regiments, the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment, the 509th, 551st, and 555th Parachute Infantry Battalions, the 325th and327th Glider Infantry, and the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion; 

 

Whereas the achievements of the airborne forces during World War II prompted the evolution of those forces into a diversified force of parachute and air-assault units that, over the years, have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf region, and Somalia, and have engaged in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo

 

Whereas the modern-day airborne force that has evolved from those World War II beginnings is an agile, powerful force that, in large part, is composed of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 75th Ranger Regiment; 

 

Whereas the modern-day airborne force also includes other elite forces composed entirely of airborne trained and qualified special operations warriors, including Army Special Forces, Marine Corps Reconnaissance units, Navy SEALs, and Air Force combat control teams, each of which is part of the United States Special Operations Command

 

Whereas in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism by carrying out combat operations in Afghanistan, training operations in the Philippines, and other operations elsewhere;

 

Whereas in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, airborne units played a pivotal role in the war in Afghanistan, including the unflinching pursuit of the enemies of the United States during the battles of Mazar-I Sharif, Kabul, Qala-i-Jangi, Tora Bora, and Operation Anaconda

 

Whereas United States  paratroopers, which include the 82d Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Forces, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team, and elements of the 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division, have demonstrated bravery and honor in an effort to pursue the enemies of the United States, to stabilize Afghanistan, and to strive for calm in a troubled region; 

 

Whereas in the aftermath of the announcement of Operation Iraqi Freedom by President George W. Bush in March 2003, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 173rd Airborne Brigade,

and the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division, together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism, carrying out combat operations, conducting civil affairs missions, and assisting in establishing democracy in Iraq;

 

Whereas the airborne forces are, and will continue to be, at the ready and the forefront until the Global War on Terrorism is concluded; 

 

Whereas of the members and former members of the United States airborne forces, all have achieved distinction by earning the right to wear the "Silver Wings of Courage" of the United States airborne forces, thousands have achieved the distinction of making combat jumps, 69 have earned the Medal of Honor, and hundreds have earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, or other decorations and awards for displays of such traits as heroism, gallantry, intrepidity, and valor; 

 

Whereas the members and former members of the United States airborne forces are all members of a proud and honorable fraternity of the profession of arms that is made exclusive by those distinctions which, together with their special skills and achievements, distinguish them as intrepid combat parachutists, special operation forces, and, in former days, glider troops; 

 

Whereas the history and achievements of the members and former members of the airborne forces of the United States Armed Forces warrant special expressions of the gratitude of the people of the United States; and

 

Whereas, since the airborne community celebrates August 16 as the anniversary of the first official jump by the Army Parachute Test Platoon, August 16 would be an appropriate day to recognize as National Airborne Day: 

 

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, 

 

That the Senate—

 

(1) designates August 16, 2009, as ‘‘National Airborne Day’’; and

(2) calls on the people of the United States to observe National Airborne Day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

 


August 9, 2009:

Added new page with the US Senate Resolution establishing "National Airborne Day."

 

December 30, 2008:

Visit the Silent Wings Museum Page for a link to a virtual tour of the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock, Texas.  A full length documentary DVD, "Silent Wings: The American Glider Pilots of WWII," can be purchased from the Silent Wings Museum at this link (We have no commercial interest in these sales and provide the link only as a service to the Museum.)

 

February 21, 2008:  

It has been a while since I was able to spend any real time making sure the site is up to date.  As a result, some (many?) of the links on different pages that take you to other airborne sites are no longer valid.  I will get around to repairing and updating them as time permits.

 

January 27, 2008:  To the many generous contributors to this site over the recent years:  

Demands of my "day job" and other obligations have prevented me from giving adequate time to this site until recently.  It contains  photos and other material you have so generously sent for use in this site but not all of them.  I will put that material on the site when I can give them adequate attention.  

 

If you browse through it, you may see material you contributed.  If anything you sent is missing, please let me know right away and I will try to put it on the site as soon as possible.  Thank you all for your thoughtfulness and participation in making this site a useful resource for students of WWII, a place where the Glider Pilots can come to remember their comrades and their courageous duty in WWII, and a resource for the families of deceased Glider Pilots who wish to learn more about their relatives' life as Glider Pilots in WWII.  I have received many inquiries from youngsters doing school papers on WWII and from active duty military personnel researching the Glider Program for personal interest and in their professional duties.   

 

Inquiries from families are particularly poignant and I do my best to respond as soon as I can (if you have inquired and have not received a response, please try again.  

 

Email me at:  ww2gpwebsiteATyahooDOTcom.  An officer of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association has been outstanding in his prompt attention to inquiries I forward to him.  He and his association comrades have helped many families learn more about their now deceased fathers, uncles, cousins, etc. who participated in glider operations.  Please note that they are only able to help families of Glider Pilots.  They maintain records of Glider Pilots but none of the Glider Infantry or Airborne unit (paratroopers).  If your relative was a member of the Glider Infantry or a Paratroop unit, you should try to locate one of those veterans groups.

 

A heartwarming addition courtesy of our friends in The Netherlands:

New pages include:

New material on pages can be found on:

This began as simple one-page site and a labor of love in 2000 when my Father was about to attend his last Glider Pilot reunion.  We wanted to do something to honor his duty and his comrades to whom he felt a strong attachment.  Interest from students of the Glider Program who chanced upon the site has resulted in a tremendous response with photos, personal accounts, and contributions of historical information.  It will continue to grow as those contributions keep coming in.

 

Tom Brennan

 

 

Glider Pilot Wings

 

Welcome to a Tribute to the American Combat Glider Pilots of WWII. 

 

 

 

 

 

Glider Retrieval by a C-47 in flight with the glider parked on the ground.  From 0 to over 100 miles per hour in six seconds.  Used to retrieve gliders on covert missions in enemy territory, to evacuate wounded, and to retrieve gliders after assault missions.  See page on "The Snatch."

 

Stars and Stripes - Tuesday, May 8, 1945 - announcing German surrender - pdf file

(Won't download for some reason - working on it.)

 

 


 

This site originally established October 14, 2000.

 


 

Link to Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau for those who may wish to have reunions in Dayton, Ohio.

 


 


 

 

Copyright 2000-2014 by T. J. Brennan - All rights reserved.  This website has been set up solely as a memorial to the Glider Pilots of World War Two and has no commercial intent.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this website may be downloaded or copied with prior permission from the website owner for educational and other non-profit purposes.  Any material used from this site must appear in published form (online or otherwise) with proper attribution which must include the full URL link to this website.  Use of any of the material on this website for commercial, economic or for any other similar purpose is prohibited.  For permission, please contact the website owner.