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Army Airborne School or Jump School

The Army’s Airborne School is also commonly referred to as Jump School or Paratrooper School. This three-week course takes place at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA after your soldier has finished BCT and AIT. If he is scheduled to go to Airborne, he will be picked up after graduation from AIT and taken to the Airborne barracks (on the main post) for in-processing. This process takes the better part of the day. Do not wait around for your soldier. Make sure he has a way to contact you to let you know when he has been released.

To successfully qualify for Airborne school, he must pass a physical fitness test of push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. He must earn a minimum of 60 points per event based on the 17-21 year old APFT standards (regardless of age) and he must also be no older than 36.

Army Airborne school is broken down to three phases with each phase lasting one week: Ground, Tower and Jump.

Ground Week

Much of the time during this week is spent learning how to land. He will practice the PLF (parachute landing fall) and learn that it is important to land with your feet and knees together. He will also be jumping repeatedly into a sand pit or a pebble pit. He can be quite sore at the end of this week from the constant landings in the pit and his uniform will take quite a beating as well. During ground week, he will be jumping from a 34-foot tower to practice landings.

Tower Week

During this week, he will use the 34-foot tower, the swing-landing trainer, the mock door for mass exit training, the suspended harness and the 250-foot tower. He is also taught how to handle parachute malfunctions. He will learn how to control his parachute as well as how to use the risers to guide his descent.

Jump Week

He must complete five jumps, including one night jump, in order to graduate from Airborne school. For many, this is the best part of Airborne school as they are actually jumping. Many are kidded that all of their jumps are “night jumps” meaning that they had their eyes closed each time they jumped. During the week, he will have day and night jumps and jumps with equipment and without.

Graduation

For some, their last jump is on to the field for graduation. In this case, any family present for graduation would be able to see the jump. He must have passed all PT requirements as well as completed all five jumps to graduate from Airborne. Graduation is usually held on the Friday of Jump Week in the morning. Any family member that is present can pin the jump wings on their soldier. While technically “blood wings” (where the skin is pierced) are not allowed, I guarantee many soldiers still receive them. If a family member is not present, one of the instructors will pin the soldier.

Communication During Airborne

If Airborne school is the same as when my husband went through it, he will have nights and weekends off. He is also allowed to have a cell phone with him and when he is off, he can call. If you are close enough, you can even visit him on the weekends. But also be forewarned that the same Army rule always applies – if one gets in trouble, they all get in trouble so these privileges can be taken away without notice.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Kaylae May 11, 2012, 2:12 pm

    My husband is in basic at Ft. Benning and we just found out that we’ll be stationed at Fort Campbell, where he will be in 101st Airborne Div. (Air Assault). Will this training start RIGHT after AIT? Like he wont be able to come home for 3 more weeks? Or will he get a break?
    Thank you for your help(:

  • tomo February 16, 2013, 10:11 am

    i have a guy working for me who says he has 800 jumps is that poss.

    • Stacey February 17, 2013, 7:22 pm

      If he was part of the Golden Knights, it could be possible.

  • Karin March 20, 2013, 9:39 am

    My son will be graduating from jump school next Friday, March 29th. Can you tell me what time the graduation will be and where I go to see it? Or, can you point me in the direction of who can tell me?
    Thanks!

    • Stacey March 27, 2013, 3:57 pm

      This is the information from the airborne section on Ft Benning’s site: Graduations are held at Airborne Walk/ Eubanks Field, directly east of the 250′ Towers on Main Post. In case of inclement weather during the week, graduation will be held on Fryar Drop Zone. The ceremony begins at 0900 (May-September) and 1100 (October-April) on the final Friday of the three week course. For any further questions, contact the Operations Section 1/507 PIR at (706) 545-6495 (DSN 835-6495) or 545-9994 (DSN 835-9994).

  • Courtney May 19, 2013, 8:34 pm

    Not sure if this is the area I am looking for. But my husband will be at Fort Eustis, VA for AIT. Anyone have any reviews for the school or the family visits and such. Not looking forward to his 6 months of school, so I would like to find as much info I can about the policys for family. We will be spending a lot of time traveling to the area! By the way, his job with Aircraft Mechanic!

  • harryagreen March 24, 2014, 12:30 pm

    after earning jump wings what other wings can one earn?

  • Melissa June 18, 2014, 3:14 pm

    I am not sure if you can help me but my boyfriend went to airborne school and has a shirt from Bravo Company 1/507th PIR Ft. Benning, GA he graduated in 2006, I’m trying to find him a new replacement shirt. Thanks so much for your time. Hope to hear from you!! Great Site, Liked on Facebook as well xoxo

    • Stacey Abler June 20, 2014, 10:07 am

      Thanks! 🙂 You could check with the PX at Benning but it may end up being one that’s hard to replace.

  • julie May 5, 2015, 1:13 pm

    My boyfriend graduated Basic Training @ Fort Jackson SC at first he was told he would have a week off after he graduated or a weekend pass, but the next day he graduated he started AOC (airborn orientation course) for three weeks there at Fort Jackson. then he is off to For Benning Georgia to get his wings for another three weeks After he graduates he will go to Fort Lee Virginia for eleven weeks more… I just dont know when i will see him or if he will get leave to come home at anytime. Do you think he will come home at any time of his course? please help im confused!!!!!

  • Airborne Pfc. August 26, 2015, 12:18 pm

    Yes, they still do blood wings. I just graduated from 1st 507th PIR, Bravo Company last Friday. U.S. Army Airborne School is an amazing experience. But keep in mind, it is a privelage, not a right. Listen to the black hats, and remember you are not entitled to anything or you will get dropped from the course. As always, feet and knees together, Airborne!

  • Lisa McKinney April 24, 2016, 1:36 pm

    My husband is at fort benning for airborne and I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a place on base that I could send mail to get to him

    • Stacey Abler April 27, 2016, 8:25 pm

      Has he not been able to provide a mailing address? He should have one even in airborne school.

  • Suzette May 11, 2016, 9:07 pm

    Any useful ideas for gifts for Airborne graduation? Maybe something a soldier would find useful in his career?

    Thank you!

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