82nd Airborne celebrates 100th birthday
Posted May 25
Fort Bragg, N.C. — The 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg spent the week celebrating its 100th birthday.
More than 2,500 spectators gathered at Sicily Drop Zone Thursday afternoon to watch America's Guard of Honor complete one of their signature missions - to seize and take control of an airstrip.
"An airfield that only has the ability to put on aircraft on the ground at a time. That could take two hours to turn that aircraft around and offload it," said Maj. Gen. Erik Kurilla, 82nd Airborne’s Division Commander. "I can deliver an entire combat team in 30 minutes - 4,000 paratroopers in 30 minutes. All of it is heavy equipment."
But Thursday was not just full of bangs and booms, families of retired paratroopers came to see what their loved ones did while they were in the Army. It was also about paying tribute to old paratroopers who are still proud of the time they spent in the division.
Colonel James Riffe, 96, was in attendance. He created the "All the Way" chant.
"When an officer of the troops meets one of the soldiers, our troopers, the officer would say, 'Airborne.' And the trooper would say, 'All the way, Sir,'" Riffe said. "It caught on really fast."