Important: Be aware that cancellation requests for bullion shoulder straps must be made within 24 hours of placing an order because of the substantial time investment required for the custom hand embroidery process.

The practice of aerial resupply was first employed on a large scale in the Pacific Theater during World War II, where friendly forces were frequently operating without supply lines and in areas where no cargo planes could land. Probably the most famous example of ongoing aerial resupply during World War II involved the 5307th Composite Unit, nicknamed Merrill’s Marauders, which operated in Burma constantly behind enemy lines and depended almost exclusively on airdrops for food, medicine, and ammunition for a period of over five months.

Other, smaller-scale aerial resupply efforts included an airdrop of food and clothing to isolated American units near the German redoubt at Monte Cassino in late 1943 and the aerial delivery of nearly 900 tons of supplies to the 101st Airborne Division surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

By the end of the war, the Army was convinced of the viability of aerial sustainment, but the transformation of the Army Air Force (AAF) into the United States Air Force presented the Army with a stumbling block. Throughout World War II, acquisition of parachutes and all related equipment was the job of the AAF; the Soldiers serving in Airborne units packed their own chutes, while the Quartermaster Corps had gained valuable experience at packing supplies for aerial drops, especially in Burma.

Thus the question: should the Air Force handle aerial resupply functions, including parachute rigging for personnel and supplies? If not, which branch of the Army should handle it? Should Infantry continue to pack their own chutes?

The verdict was delivered by an Army board that included Airborne luminaries such as General Matthew Ridgeway and Lieutenant General James Gavin, both of whom had commanded the 82nd Airborne Division. Both Gavin and Ridgeway, as well as the majority of the board, concluded that since the success of parachute operations depended on the accurate delivery of men and materiel, then it was appropriate for the Quartermaster Corps to assume the duties.

The first Parachute Packing, Maintenance, and Aerial Delivery Course began on May 21, 1951 at Fort Lee, Virginia. Today, more than sixty years later, Fort Lee has been renamed Fort Gregg-Adams, but the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps & School still provides training for Enlisted personnel in the 92R Parachute Rigger MOS there, as well as Technician training for five different Warrant Officers Specialties, including Airdrop Systems Technician.

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