Learn about U.S. paratroopers and the "Airborne Creed"
March 27, 2003
Web posted at: 11:41 PM EST (0441 GMT)
Overview: New coalition airstrikes thundered into the Iraqi capital on Thursday. Officials expect attacks on Baghdad to intensify over the weekend. In northern Iraq, 1,000 paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade prepared to secure a staging point Thursday for the coalition's northern front. They were taking part in the largest combat jump in decades, and their goal was to secure an airfield in northern Iraq after parachuting out of planes under cover of darkness.
After students read "Bombing in Baghdad continues; airfield secured in northern Iraq" and watch the first segment of CNN Student News (the video can be accessed from CNNStudentNews.com) pose the following questions:
1. According to the story, what are the latest developments in the war in Iraq? To which country were the five wounded U.S. soldiers transported? What insight did the wounded U.S. solider in Germany offer about going back into combat after being wounded?
2. With which U.S. Army division is CNN's Thomas Nybo embedded? What is the mission of the paratroopers featured in the story? How many paratroopers participated in the mission? How long did it take 50 paratroopers to exit the plane? What did the paratroopers do once they landed on the ground?
3. In which part of Iraq did they land? How does this terrain differ from southern Iraq? What dangers did these paratroopers face once they hit the ground? How did these troops describe their jump?
4. Refer student groups to online resources to learn about the U.S. Airborne Force and the role of the U.S. paratrooper in U.S. military history. Instruct students to also learn about the training and skills necessary to become a paratrooper. Then, have each group choose a particular battle in which American paratroopers played a significant role, and instruct them to prepare a report on their chosen incident. After groups present their reports to the class, ask: How has the role of the Airborne Force evolved over time? How important do you think U.S. paratroopers are to Operation Iraqi Freedom? Discuss.
5. Have students define the term "creed" and facilitate a discussion about different groups that have creeds, such as firefighters, lawyers and religious groups. Point out to students that a creed establishes an identity and a level of commitment to a set of principles. Then, direct students to read the U.S. "Airborne Creed" (http://www.bragg.army.mil/3-504PIR/Airborne%20Creed.htm). Ask students: What are the guiding principles and beliefs of the "Airborne Creed" and why they are important to a paratrooper? After the discussion, challenge students to examine their own personal creeds. Have students write one-page creeds that describe their personal principles and their commitment to these principles. Have students share their creeds with the class and compare them to the "Airborne Creed." To what extent are the students' principles similar to, or different from, those embraced by the U.S. Airborne Forces.