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    82nd Airborne Division celebrates All American Week

    82nd Airborne Division celebrates All American Week

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James J. Mingus and Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Burgoyne, 82nd...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Michelle Blesam 

    49th Public Affairs Detachment   

    For over 30 years, the 82nd Airborne Division has celebrated its legacy, lineage and heritage through All American Week, a week-long event filled with athletic competitions, ceremonies, a memorial and a combined arms demonstration, all open to the public. This week, the All American Division celebrated its 102nd year and commemorated 75 years since it's two historic airborne operations in Normandy and Holland during D-Day and Operation Market Garden.

    "Our theme this year is jumping into history," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James Mingus, the 82nd Airborne Division commanding general. "When you bring the past with the current and you think about the sacrifices that they had, especially the ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice, it just inspires us that wear the uniform today to make sure that sacrifices that happened over the 230 plus years of our military history are not wasted." said Mingus.

    The celebration kicked-off early Monday morning with a four-mile division run as nearly 18,000 Paratroopers filled Longstreet Road on Fort Bragg. Families, friends, and veterans cheered them on as they ran through smoke from artillery canon blasts. Helicopters circled overhead, and Paratroopers shouted traditional cadences the entire way.

    For the first two days, battalion teams competed in a variety of sporting and fighting events to see who would rise above their peer from across the division.

    "We had hundreds and thousands that stepped into the arena… in competition that breeds excellence and pride," said Mingus.

    The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, ultimately distinguished itself as the top performers, claiming both trophies for the Marksmanship Competition and the Best Overall Battalion for All American Week.

    Wednesday, the division held its second annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, ushering 16 more names onto the walls of the Hall of Heroes. Recipients were distinguished members that left marks on the division’s storied history, having fallen in combat, earned valorous awards, or made a significant impact on American society beyond the division.

    One inductee, Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, died from hostile enemy fire directed at her Kiowa helicopter in Iraq on Jan. 2, 2004. She was the first woman from the division killed in combat by hostile fire. Her father, Dale Hampton attended the induction and accepted the plaque in her place.

    “She wanted to be out front and lead people, and she did,” he said. “She did it in a quiet way, but I understand that she was very effective. I can’t wait to get back to tell her [mother] about all the wonderful things that happened today.”

    Immediately following the ceremony, the mood became solemn as families and friends paid tribute to fallen Paratroopers and honored Gold Star Family members during the annual 82nd Abn. Div. Memorial held at the 82nd Abn. Div. War Memorial Museum. Hampton attended and located his daughter’s name on the stone monument engraved amongst a list of Paratroopers killed throughout the Global War on Terror. He placed a single yellow rose beside the monument. Seeing his daughter celebrated as one of the division’s most prominent heroes consoled him.

    “It’s just another thing that absolutely amazes us and makes us so proud of her,” he concluded.

    As the week came to an end, the All American Division displayed its capabilities before an audience of thousands, conducting an airfield seizure with six C-17 Globemaster III aircraft by dropping 482 Paratroopers, followed by a combined arms demonstration of attack helicopters, artillery, and maneuvering infantry. Smoke, explosions and gunfire simulated a combat engagement for the crowd.

    Following the jumpers with modern T-11 parachutes, the audience watched as a lone C-47 Dakota aircraft approached the drop zone. Sixteen jumpers in World War II uniforms leapt out of the door, floating to the ground with era-authentic parachutes. The demonstration hearkened again to this year’s All American Week theme and its focus on the division’s history.

    For U.S. Army Capt. Darren Cinatl, it was an honor and a privilege to be able to jump from an aircraft used for airborne operations during D-Day and Operation Market Garden in 1944. The airplane is nicknamed the “Greenland Gopher.”

    “There is no better aircraft to jump from. Standing in the door and wondering what the jumpmasters of the 1940s thought of, while looking out into the night, gives you the chills,” said Cinatl, a La Quinta, California-native. “Being able to represent our proud history and storied tradition with the aircraft that delivered those who came before us into combat on the Day of Days was a humbling experience.”



    Date Taken: 05.23.2019
    Date Posted: 05.23.2019 20:44
    Story ID: 323831
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 
    Hometown: LA QUINTA, CA, US

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