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

Graduation

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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21 Comments

  1. 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(:

    1. Is it military? If so he is well beyond a jumpmaster oh about 300 more than. Either way awesome feat he must be at least 60+.

    2. Ask him what height he jumped at. Airborne School is 1250 feet, but could be up to 1500 feet. If he “claims” he was in a jump Division (82nd) they (we) jumped at 800 feet.

  2. 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!

    1. 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).

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!!!!!

  6. 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!

    1. Airborne Brother ! I earned my Wings in 1989 and was given Blood Wings by my Black Hat (Sgt. Airborne). My Grandson will be graduating December 1st and I will give him Blood Wings with the set I received in 1989. All The Way !

  7. 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

    1. I am wondering the same thing! He wants to enroll me in deers as we didn’t have time when we got married. I want to mail him a certified copy of my documentation so he can enroll me in DEERS! Please help!

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

    Thank you!

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