Local News

National Airborne Day celebration held in Fayetteville

Posted August 14, 2010 6:32 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2010 11:05 p.m. EDT

— The 10th Annual National Airborne Day celebration was held Saturday in Fayetteville.

This year's event commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Army Parachute Test Platoon's first official jump and the 10th anniversary of the Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville.

“We love America, the military and appreciate what they have done," said Jean Bullard, who brought her grandchildren to the celebration.

Lt. Gen. Dick Seitz, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945 and earned a Silver Star, was the event's guest speaker. 

In 1967, Seitz commanded the 82nd Airborne Division where he deployed troops to quell riots in Detroit and Washington, D.C. Within 36 hours of notification, he deployed the 3rd Brigade to Vietnam following the Tet Offensive.

Seitz's last assignment before retiring in 1975 was as the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg. He spoke Saturday of the service and sacrifice made by members of the military.

“Although the environment has changed, our soldiers are still the dedicated soldiers they have always been,” Seitz said.

Spectators of the festivities enjoyed displays of Airborne Corps equipment and history, and got to talk with soldiers.

“A lot of the community, if not the majority of the community, are very appreciative of the military. As a military member, I really take that to heart,” said Sgt. Adrian Huskey of the 20th Engineer Brigade at Fort Bragg.

A dedication ceremony was also held during the event for the original Iron Mike statue of a World War II paratrooper. The statue was recently moved from Fort Bragg to the Special Operations Museum.