Drop Zone

In parachuting, a drop zone or DZ is the area above and around a location where a parachutist freefalls and expects to land.

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  • In the last days of the Dien Bien Phu siege, 652 French Union troopers dropped for the first and last time during the ongoing battle, they were volunteers that did not have licenses and were coming from all kind of units including cavalry, infantry or artillery.
  • In 1940, the night before their first mass jump, U.S. paratroopers at Fort Benning watched the film Geronimo (1939), in which the actor playing Geronimo yells his name as he leapt from a high cliff into a river. Private Aubrey Eberhardt announced he would shout the name when he jumped from the aeroplane to prove he was not scared. This yell soon became popular with other Paratroopers elsewhere.
  • Even in the most perilous of situations a touch of humour could often be found. The following event is reported as having occured during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943: As the assault craft approached the beaches there was a momentary distraction. A glider, through some mischance, had landed in the sea, and its airborne troops were now swimming about. There was a sudden shout from the darkness, "For the love of Mike, pick us up." The captain of the nearest landing-craft answered the hail. "Who are you ?" he said. The reply that came back from the water seemed sort of odd : "We're airborne."
  • Around midnight on June 5, 1944, Private C. Hillman, of Manchester, Connecticut, serving with the US 101st Airborne Division, was winging his way to Normandy in a C-47 transport plane. Just before the jump, Private Hillman carried out a final inspection of his parachute. He was surprised to see that the chute had been packed by the Pioneer Parachute Company of Connecticut where his mother worked part time as an inspector. He was further surprised when he saw on the inspection tag, the initials of his own mother!
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