Texas VLB Salutes Military Members who Parachute on National Airborne Day

Texas VLB
Texas VLB
Aug 13 · 2 min read

Today, the Texas Veterans Land Board salutes all those Military Members who parachute on National Airborne Day. In 1940, the first parachute jump of 48 volunteer members of the U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon took place on August 16th, so we celebrate today for those who choose to be airborne.

However, the idea of parachuters raining from the sky began much earlier. After witnessing a hot air balloon demonstration in 1784, founding father Benjamin Franklin wrote, “as that Ten Thousand Men descending from the Clouds, might not in many Places do an infinite deal of Mischief, before a Force could be brought together to repel them?” Of course, he thought they would be jumping from hot air balloons, not anything as modern as airplanes!

Darrell G. Harris, a Texas native from Strawn, joined the Army after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 and became one of the original members of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the time part of the Army Air Corps. “I was real proud to be one of the first paratroopers in the Army and to serve our country,” said Harris, who was known as “D.G.” and chronicled his war service in a self-published 1996 book titled “Casablanca to VE Day: A Paratrooper’s Memoirs.”

He landed in North Africa and participated in three parachute operations, including the beach landing at Anzio and the Italian campaign. A German officer who died at Anzio wrote that the parachuting soldiers were “devils in baggy pants” and Harris’s regiment adopted that moniker for their nickname.

After WWII, Harris served in the Air Force civil service at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, working on aircraft propulsion systems. He was honored by the 82nd Airborne Association, of which he was a charter member, in 2012. Harris passed away in May 2018 at the age of 96.

The VLB salutes D.G. Harris and all other Military Members who parachute from the skies and fulfill Benjamin Franklin’s dream of a force that could hardly be defended. Thank you for the great courage and sacrifice you demonstrate.

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Texas Veterans Blog

A blog for the Texas Veterans Land Board that provides…

Texas Veterans Blog

A blog for the Texas Veterans Land Board that provides in-depth information on benefits, programs and resources for Veterans, military members and their families in Texas.

Texas VLB

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Texas VLB

Official Account for the Texas Veterans Land Board | Land, Home, and Home Improvement Loans, Texas State Veterans Homes and Cemeteries

Texas Veterans Blog

A blog for the Texas Veterans Land Board that provides in-depth information on benefits, programs and resources for Veterans, military members and their families in Texas.