Airborne Forces at War: From Parachute Test Platoon to the 21st Century

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Naval Institute Press, 2007 - History - 214 pages
This handsome, large-format book takes the reader on an illustrated tour of the U.S. Army's hard-hitting airborne forces, from the original Parachute Test Platoon of 1940 to the multiple global commitment of the twenty-first century. Featuring more than 150 photographs, some rare or seldom seen and many in color, the work highlights the extraordinary history of the airborne units as they added new dimensions to national power and military operations, arriving from the sky by parachute and aircraft and compressing time by their swift deployment and flight to objectives thousands of miles distant. Airborne operations of World War II in the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Pacific begin an inspiring story that leads through Korea, Vietnam, and into the twenty-first century. The operations take a prominent place in the story, along with the paratroopers who received the nation's highest award for heroism, the Medal of Honor. The esprit de corps of the airborne volunteers and their sacrifices in peace and war are consistent themes throughout the book. Whether operating as small groups of paratroopers scattered about the countryside or as powerful parachute infantry regiments, brigades, or divisions, the airborne spirit is always evident. Coauthors John Greenwood and Robert K. Wright highlight key leaders and crucial battles spanning more than six decades to help tell this exciting story. Through skillful integration of photographs and text, they show how lessons learned in combat led to improved doctrine and the development of equipment that enhanced the mobility and striking power of these versatile units. This book is published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army.

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About the author (2007)

Robert K. Wright, Jr. holds a PhD. from the College of William and Mary and is a retired Army Reserve major. He served in uniform as an historian in Vietnam, Panama, the first Gulf War, and Somalia and as the XVIII Airborne Corps as a civilian.

John T. Greenwood holds a Ph.D. from Kansas State University and has been a military historian with the U.S. Army and Air Force since 1970. Currently chief historian for the Army's Office of the Surgeon General, he also served as editor of Karl-Heinz Frieser's The Blitzkrieg Legend.

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