Skydiver, National Guard to commemorate 100th anniversary of first parachute jump
BY TIM O’NEIL • email@example.com STLtoday.com | Posted: Sunday, February 26, 2012 12:05 am
Hovering over the parade ground in a primitive biplane, stuntman Albert Berry dangled from the landing-wheel axle like a trapeze artist. He let go at 1,500 feet, a wisp of cloth trailing behind him.
He plunged 300 to 500 feet before his parachute opened fully, giving Berry time for a quick scare and a soft landing near the mess hall. Hundreds of soldiers were there to cheer him.
“I was relieved when the parachute opened,” Berry told reporters. Berry’s jump on March 1, 1912, is widely considered the first parachute descent from an airplane.
Commemoration Marking The 100th Anniversary of the First Parachute Jump from an Airplane
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – On March 1, 1912, Army Capt. Albert Berry became the first person to successfully parachute from an airplane, a Benoist “pusher” designed by Thomas Benoist and flown by Anthony Jannus. The historic event took place at Jefferson Barracks in south St. Louis County, Mo.
On March 1, 2012, the Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Missouri National Guard, the U.S. Army Reserve and the Gateway Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association will host a ceremony and parachute jump to mark the 100th anniversary of Capt. Berry’s feat.
The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at the Joint Armed Forces Reserve Center (Building 24), followed by the parachute jump on the west parade grounds. Weather permitting, Master Parachutist, Lewis Sanborn, of Imperial, will make the jump. Sanborn, 82, has more than 7,300 parachute jumps to his credit.
Featured speakers at the ceremony will include Air Guard Col. David Newman, Jefferson Barracks base commander and master of ceremonies, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, Art Schuermann, of the Jefferson Barracks Historic Preservation Office and Mr. Charles W. Benoist, of Bonne Terre, the nephew of Thomas Benoist.
Mr. Dooley will also present a proclamation from St. Louis County recognizing the historical significance of the occasion.
NOTE: The parachute jump and ceremony are open to the public and to members of the media. Spectators may enter the base through the west gate on Sherman Road. Media must be escorted onto the base by contacting the public affairs official listed below. Interviews with Mr. Sanborn prior to his jump can be conducted in the fire station training room of St. Louis Downtown Airport, 6100 Archview Dr., Cahokia, Ill., 62206. Call Bob McDaniel, 618-337-6060.