Inscription. This plaque is to honor New Jersey's paratroopers and to commemorate the U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon which trained here during the summer of 1940. This training was the beginning of the elite military paratrooper units, including the 82nd Airborne Division, who have served our country proudly in war and in peace.
By R. C.
|1. U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon Marker|
Erected by State of New Jersey.
Location. 40° 14.882′ N, 74° 34.1′ W. Marker is in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker is at the intersection of Route 33 (New Jersey Route 33) and Voelbel Road on Route 33. Click for map. Located on the South side of Route 33/130, just north of Voelbel Road in Robbinsville Township, just south of Hightstown. Marker is at or near this postal address: 99 N Main Street, Hightstown NJ 08520, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, as the crow flies. East Windsor Township Civil War Monument (approx. 2.6 miles away); Hightstown World War II Memorial (approx. 2.9 miles away); Hightstown (approx. 2.9 miles away); Mercer County Vietnam Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.6 miles away); Martian Landing Site (approx. 4.9 miles away); Cranberry Mills (approx. 5 miles away); World War I Monument (approx. 5.1 miles away); Hamilton Square Honor Roll (approx. 5.1 miles away).
By R. C.
|2. U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon Marker|
|Part of the original landing zone remains behind the marker.|
Also see . . . History of the Airborne. The U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon began training at the Safe Parachute Company at Hightstown, NJ in July 1940. The 250 foot tall parachute drop towers there were used during the New York World's Fair. Marine Corps parachutists also started training here in late 1940.
"The training was particularly effective. When a drop from the tower was compared to a drop from an airplane, it was found that the added realism was otherwise impossible to duplicate. The drop also proved to the troopers that their parachutes would function safely." (Submitted on January 13, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
1. These 48 men were members of the original Parachute Test Platoon:
First Lieutenant William T. Ryder
Second Lieutenant James A. Bassett
Warrant Officer C.W. (Tug) Wilson
Sergeant John M. Haly
Sergeant Benedict F. Jacquary
Sergeant Lloyd (Mac) McCullough
Sergeant Lemuel T. Pitts
Sergeant Grady A. Roberts
Sergeant Hobart B. Wade
Private First Class Tyerus Floyd Adams
Private First Class Willie F. Brown
Private First Class Floyd Burkhalter
Private First Class Donald L. Colee
Private First Class Louie D. Davis
Private First Class Edgar R. Dodd
First Class Johnnie A. Ellis
By Deb Hartshorn, September 11, 2010
|3. View of U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon Marker from Route 33/130 southbound|
Private First Class Mitchel Guilbeau
Private First Class J. Hardin
Private First Class George W. Ivy
Private First Class John M. Kitchens
Private First Class Lester C. McLaney
Private First Class Joseph L. Peters
Private First Class John F. Pursley, Jr
Private First Class Benjamin C. Reese
Private First Class Alsie L. Rutland
Private First Class Louie D. Skipper
Private First Class Raymond G. Smith
Private First Class Harris J. Wallace
Private First Class John A. Ward
Private First Class Thurman L. Weaks, Sr.
Private First Class Carles M. (Swifty) Wilson
Private First Class Obie B. Wilson
Private John E. Borom
Private Leo C. Brown
Private Jules Corbin
Private Ernest L. Dilburn
Private Joseph E. Doucet
Private Aubrey Eberhardt
Private Frank Kassell Jr
Private Richard J. Kelly
Private Sidney C. Kerksis
Private William N. King
Private John 0. Modisett
Private Robert H. Poudert
Private Albert P. Robinson
Private Thad P. Selman
Private Robert E. Shepperd
Private Arthur W. Swilley
Private Hugh A. Tracey
Private Steve Voils, Jr.
— Submitted January 13, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
2. Book with signatures of "original parachute test platoon "
Raymond G. Smith (deceased) was the husband to my wife's sister, who also recently died. In going through some of Raymond's wife's, Nita, articles that were to be given to the family, I found an interesting book entitled Paratrooper! by Gerard M. Devlin copyright 1974. On the inside cover are the signatures entitled "original parachute test platoon". (15 including Raymond G. Smith) On the facing page is also listed app. 65 other names including Major McDonald Valentine Jr., society of Vietnamese Rangers. Some of the men in this list is discussed in the book. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor
— Submitted June 4, 2012, by Robert Norton of Gadsden, Alabama.
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 12, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,651 times since then. Last updated on August 28, 2009, by Martha Runyon of Trenton, New Jersey. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 12, 2008, by R. C. of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. 3. submitted on September 11, 2010, by Deb Hartshorn of Burlington County, New Jersey. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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