WWII Airborne Demonstration Team jumps students into history

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WWII Airborne Demonstration Team is conducting their April Parachutist Training School for Tier II and Tier III students in Frederick. ADT’s Spring training course begins April 14 with the ground training phase, moving to student jump operations on April 15. Team members and returning trainees will be jumping throughout the entire week, beginning April 12, weather-permitting, from the team’s two restored WWII-era Skytrain transport aircraft, Boogie Baby (C-47) and Wildkat (C-49).

This is the first jump school to be conducted by the Airborne Demonstration Team since the onset of COVID-19 last March. To ensure the health and safety of students and team members, the team requests members of the press to request visitation during the training week for special inside access to WWII ADT’s jump school via online platform.

WWII ADT is a non-profit organization in operation since the late 1990s, and is comprised of civilian and military volunteers from all walks of life. The team participates in demonstration parachute jumps to preserve the history of the WWII Paratroopers, and commemorate the efforts and sacrifice of military Veterans. “We take it a step beyond where the average re-enactor goes”, says Steve McGarry, ADT Jumpmaster and Senior Parachute Instructor. “Re-enactors dress in the equipment, and are effective in showing the public what a WWII soldier looked like. ADT demonstrates, for real, a dangerous task that the soldiers actually performed.” The organization has taken an active role this year commemorating the 75th anniversary of major WWII operations like D-Day, the later invasion of Southern France (Operation Dragoon) and Operation Market-Garden in The Netherlands, as well as numerous airshows and Veterans’ events in the continental US.

WWII ADT’s Parachute School gives everyday people the opportunity to train with and jump from restored WWII-era US Military aircraft, themselves Veterans of combat actions in Europe and other theaters. For history enthusiasts and thrill seekers alike, it is an intense experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. Before graduating, students must master the physical and mental skills required for parachuting, then make 5 jumps from the aircraft at an altitude of 1500 feet. 2015 graduate Drew Mincks says, “It’s a very challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. It’s definitely one of those things you have to want. The training is high tempo and very physically demanding.” But for students, the effort is worth it. For many, the sense of accomplishment is personal. The grandson of a WWII Veteran bomber crewman, Drew felt great pride after his last qualifying jump. “I felt my grandpa smiling down on me that day; I’m sure he is very proud.”

The team will not hold an Open Hangar Day this jump school but plans are being made for their summer jump school in July, on Saturday, July 24, from 8 a.m. - noon. The event will mark the end of the team’s Summer 2021 training course for new parachutists. Events will include demonstration parachute jumps (weather-permitting) and displays of historical equipment, militaria and vehicles. It will conclude with the wing-pinning ceremony for graduating students. ADT Open Hangar Day will be held at the historic Frederick Army Air Force Hangar, at the Frederick Municipal Airport, southeast of Frederick. Team members will be on hand, dressed in period uniforms and gear to answer questions about training, equipment, and history of the WWII Airborne Forces, as well as the team itself.

For more details or information on either of these events, please contact PAO Laura Goodwin, at 469-855-5685.

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