Army Airborne School or Jump School

Recently updated on May 24, 2023

The Army’s Airborne School is also commonly referred to as Jump School or Paratrooper School. This three-week course takes place at Ft. Moore (formerly known as 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). He must also be no older than 36.

Army Airborne school is broken down into 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. His uniform will take quite a beating as well.

During ground week, he will be jumping from a 34-foot tower to practice landings. He will also train on the mock door and the lateral drift apparatus (LDA).

Tower Week

During this week, he will use the 34-foot tower, the swing-landing trainer (SLT), 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.

To pass tower week, he has to pass the SLT and mass exit from the 34-foot tower.

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 have their eyes closed each time they jump. During the week, he will have day and night jumps and jumps with equipment and without.

Two of the jumps will be with combat equipment and three jumps are what is referred to as “Hollywood jumps.” This means they are jumping with only the parachute and the reserve.

Graduation Requirements

  • Pass a 10-Second Flex Arm Hang
  • Complete all PT runs
  • Qualify on the mock tower, parachute landing falls, and swing landing training
  • Complete five qualifying jumps


For some, their last jump is onto 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. The ceremony happens on Eubanks Field unless their final jump is on graduation day. In that case, graduation is held at the Fryar Drop Zone (DZ).

Any family member that is present can pin the jump wings on their soldier. While “blood wings” (where the skin is pierced) are technically 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 most nights and weekends off.

He is also allowed to have a cell phone with him. 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.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. Hi, so my husband just graduated from AIT in Fort lee.. He was told that he will be leaving fort lee next week Thursday to go to Air borne school. Basically my question is how long (# of days/weeks) does it normally take for soldiers to go back home after graduating air borne school? Because he does have a 10day leave.
    I would appreciate some info. (:
    Thank you!

  2. Can a girlfriend pin wings? Or does it have to be a family member/legal spouse. Any other details on how it all works would be amazing

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