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Senate Passes Murkowski’s Airborne Day Resolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate has passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, designating Monday, August 16, 2010, as National Airborne Day.

The resolution, S. Res. 599, passed the Senate on July 28, 2010, and was cosponsored by 26 senators, including U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska.

National Airborne Day commemorates the successful first jump of the Army Parachute Test Platoon on August 16, 1940, which helped contribute to an allied victory in World War II and honors today’s paratroopers, an elite fighting force2010 marks the 70th anniversary of that historic jump from a B-18 aircraft launched from Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Senate began a tradition of observing August 16th as National Airborne Day in 1999. The initial effort was led by the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-South Carolina. When Thurmond retired former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, became lead sponsor of the National Airborne Day resolution until his retirement in 2009. Sen. Murkowski became lead sponsor of National Airborne Day in 2009, following Hagel’s retirement.

Alaska proudly hosts the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson. The brigade, known as the “Spartan Brigade,” is the first new Airborne unit created in the U.S. Army since the end of World War II and is the only Airborne unit west of the Mississippi River. It has 3,500 members.

The Spartan Brigade was deployed to Iraq from 2006-2007. The brigade next deployed to Afghanistan in March 2009 and returned in March 2010.  The resolution specifically acknowledges the role of the Spartan Brigade in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.


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