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Airborne units are light infantry forces trained, equipped, and manned to deploy onto the battlefield via vertical insertion under parachute from an aircraft. As these soldiers are delivered by individual parachute, so too can the immediate equipment of an airborne unit be delivered via paradrop. Large equipment parachutes are attached either to individual pieces of equipment—some can be quite heavy, including vehicles and artillery pieces—or to pallets of equipment such as food, water, ammunition, and other warfighting materiel. This entry discusses the training and leadership qualities of airborne soldiers and U.S. Marines and the procedures for an airborne operation.

The most well-known American airborne unit is the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, though dozens of other smaller units also retain an airborne capability. The U.S. ...

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