Site of First Parachute Jump - Lemay, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 30.363 W 090° 16.787
15S E 737197 N 4265471
Jefferson Barracks Military Base, March 1, 1912.
Waymark Code: WM14XQ8
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 09/08/2021
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

County of site: St. Louis County
Location of site: Hancock Rd., across the road from main gate, Jefferson Barracks, Lemay
Erected By: The First Jump Monument Committee
Sponsored By: The St. Louis Area Veterans Consortium
Date Erected: March 1st, 2013

Marker Text:


MARCH 1, 1912

The First Descent

Early in 1912 Thomas Benoist, the owner of an aviation school in Kinloch Park, decided to promote a parachute jump from an airplane, a feat considered at the time to be impossible or crazy. The parachutist was Captain Albert Berry, the son of a balloonist. The aircraft used was a "pusher" biplane designed by Benoist and flown by Anthony Jannus. After being delayed twice by weather, the jump took place on March 1, 1912 at Jefferson Barracks in south St. Louis County. The parachute was carried in an iron cone fixed to the undercarriage of the plane to which two leg loops were attached. After an 18-mile flight from Kinloch to the jump site, Berry dropped through the fuselage of the aircraft, put his legs through the loops and tied a belt around his waist. At 1,500 feet, Berry cut himself from the aircraft and dropped 500 feet before the chute opened, an experience he described as "uneasy." The decent went perfectly, which Berry late said, "confirmed the feasibility of such descents." Ironically, Benoist arrived at Jefferson Barracks to late too see the jump.

Inspires U.S. Army Response

No one in 1912 believe a person could parachute from an airplane without having the pilot lose control and the plane crash. Experts thought the aircraft would go out of control from the sudden loss of weight.

Refuting that assumption -- this successful event in 1912 -- inspired "airborne" responses over the next century. Further innovations and enhancements in parachute design, aircraft performance, military training and tactics led to the formation of U.S. Army regiments and units that would become world famous in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and post 9-11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This proof of a successful parachute jump led to military units jumping behind enemy lines and small reconnaissance units dropped deep into enemy territory. Of equal importance, aircraft crews were able to escape damaged aircraft that could no longer fly -- as in fighter and bomber aircraft. All this military advantage and life-saving capability grew from this first jump conducted by men with ideas and courage to text them.

This monument is dedicated not only to Benoist, Jannus and Berry, but also to the thousands of U. S. Army Airborne troops who served their country. Men and women of the 82nd Airborne All-American Division, the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, the 173rd Airborne Sky Soldiers, the 187th Airborne Rakkasans, and Special Forces Green Berets.

Dedicated March 1, 2013
101st Anniversary of "The First Descent"
Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
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Additional point: Not Listed

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