Paratroopers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division recently vied for the honor of Best Squad in a competition held August 21 on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Panther paratroopers completed maintenance-focus tasks like changing tires on a Humvee and performing vehicle recover before conducing a more than four-mile forced march to a FBNC range. At the range, paratroopers completed a written test evaluating their knowledge of Army regulations and operations before conducting a live-fire stress shoot.
The 3BCT paratroopers then completed team-focused cognitive test evaluating their mental agility to use PVC piping to build a cube a teammate could pass through. After completing the cognitive test, the 3BCT paratroopers completed the Best Squad Competition by conducting another forced march back to their starting point.
A squad of paratroopers from the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion emerged victorious from the competition. On average, the Cobalt paratroopers earned a better score on each station while finishing the forced-marches in competitive times.
Today, we honor the 75th Anniversary of the 505th PIR and 307th AEB’s first Star of Valor – Operation Husky. On 9 July 1943, at 1930 hours, the first of 226 planes carrying the paratroopers departed their airfields in Tunisa enroute to Sicily. There, they would conduct the first regimental-sized combat parachute jump in U.S. Army History.
Due to many factors, most of the paratroopers missed their assigned drop zones and the regiment was widely scattered. Throughout the night and well into July 10th, 505th PIR and 307th AEB paratroopers wreaked havoc on their enemies while fighting towards “Objective Y;” a series of 16 concrete pillboxes. Of the 3407 paratroopers of the 505th PIR who jumped, 424 were wounded or killed by the end of Operation Husky.
On the ground, the paratroopers fought with tenacity and aggressiveness. Their training in small unit tactics, eagerness to close with the enemy and universal understanding of the mission resulted in success.
Of Operation Husky, Gen. Gavin wrote “Here, in Sicily, he [Paratroopers] proved the hard way that vertical envelopment at night was feasible and almost impossible to stop, that the American trooper has the mental and physical courage to try anything, asking and expecting no odds.”
Take time today to learn more about Operation Husky. The heritage of the American Paratrooper, one you are building today, rests on the foundation laid by these brave Troopers.