National Airborne Day  

Designating August 16, 2004, as `National Airborne Day'.  (Reported in Senate)

SRES 322 RS Calendar No.  585  108th CONGRESS  2d Session S.  RES.  322 Designating August 16, 2004, as `National Airborne Day'.  

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES March 22, 2004 Mr.  HAGEL (for himself, Mrs.  LINCOLN, Mr.  REED, Mr.  DURBIN, Mr.  PRYOR, Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina, Mrs.  DOLE, Mr.  FITZGERALD, Mrs.  BOXER, and Mr. HATCH) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary June 18, 2004; Reported by Mr.  HATCH, without amendment RESOLUTION Designating August 16, 2004, as `National Airborne Day'.  

Whereas the airborne forces of the United States Armed Forces have a long and honorable history as units of adventuresome, hardy, and fierce warriors who, for the national security of the United States and the defense of freedom and peace, project the effective ground combat power of the United States by Air Force air transport to the far reaches of the battle area and, indeed, to the far corners of the world;  

Whereas August 16, 2004, marks the anniversary of the first official validation of the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind the battle line by means of a parachute;  

Whereas the United States experiment of airborne infantry attack began on June 25, 1940, when the Army Parachute Test Platoon was first authorized by the United States Department of War, and was launched when 48 volunteers began training in July of 1940; Whereas the Parachute Test Platoon performed the first official Army parachute jump on August 16, 1940;  

Whereas the success of the Parachute Test Platoon in the days immediately preceding the entry of the United States into World War II led to the formation of a formidable force of airborne units that, since then, have served with distinction and repeated success in armed hostilities;  

Whereas among those units are the former 11th, 13th, and 17th Airborne Divisions, the venerable 82nd Airborne Division, the versatile 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the airborne regiments and battalions (some as components of those divisions, some as separate units) that achieved distinction as the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 187th Infantry (Airborne) Regiment, the 503rd, 507th, 508th, 517th, 541st, and 542nd Parachute Infantry Regiments, the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment, the 509th, 551st, and 555th Parachute Infantry Battalions, and the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion;  

Whereas the achievements of the airborne forces during World War II provided a basis of evolution into a diversified force of parachute and air assault units that, over the years, have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf Region, and Somalia, and have engaged in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo;  

Whereas the modern-day airborne force that has evolved from those World War II beginnings is an agile, powerful force that, in large part, is composed of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 75th Ranger Regiment which, together with other units, comprise the quick reaction force of the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps when not operating separately under a regional combatant commander;  

Whereas that modern-day airborne force also includes other elite forces composed entirely of airborne trained and qualified special operations warriors, including Army Special Forces, Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance units, Navy SEALs, and Air Force combat control teams, all or most of which comprise the forces of the United States Special Operations Command;  

Whereas in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism by carrying out combat operations in Afghanistan, training operations in the Philippines, and other operations elsewhere;  

Whereas in the aftermath of the President's announcement of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, the 75th Ranger Regiment, special forces units, and units of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, together with other units of the Armed Forces, have been prosecuting the war against terrorism, carrying out combat operations, conducting civil affair missions, and assisting in establishing democracy in Iraq;  

Whereas the airborne forces are and will continue to be at the ready and the forefront until the Global War on Terrorism is concluded;  

Whereas of the members and former members of the United States combat airborne forces, all have achieved distinction by earning the right to wear the airborne's `Silver Wings of Courage', thousands have achieved the distinction of making combat jumps, 69 have earned the Medal of Honor, and hundreds have earned the Distinguished-Service Cross, Silver Star, or other decorations and awards for displays of such traits as heroism, gallantry, intrepidity, and valor;  

Whereas the members and former members of the United States combat airborne forces are members of a proud and honorable fraternity of the profession of arms that is made exclusive by those distinctions which, together with their special skills and achievements, distinguish them as intrepid combat parachutists, special operations forces, and (in former days) glider troops; and  

Whereas the history and achievements of the members and former members of the airborne forces of the United States Armed Forces warrant special expressions of the gratitude of the American people as the airborne community celebrates August 16, 2004, as the 64th anniversary of the first official jump by the Army Parachute Test Platoon: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate— 

(1)   designates August 16, 2004, as `National Airborne Day'; and  

(2) requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on Federal, State, and local administrators and the people of the United States to observe `National Airborne Day' with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.