FORT BRAGG: Paratroopers give a nod to women's history - WNCN: News, Weather

Paratroopers give a nod to women's history at Fort Bragg

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Paratroopers at Fort Bragg celebrated Women’s History Month in a unique way Tuesday.

A group of only women paratroopers made a jump at Fort Bragg’s Normandy drop zone.

On the ground watching was Virginia Todd, a former paratrooper herself, who was watching her daughter participate in the jump.

"I don't think we've ever heard of that before," Todd said of the women-only jump. "That's pretty neat celebration of women's history month."

Her daughter, Patricia Smith, served as a jump master during the jump. It’s a leadership role that more women are gradually moving into.

"What Trish does now, I think that was more rare [than when I was a paratrooper]. That's pretty cool, and I think it's pretty neat," Todd said. "I think it's just an evolution of people figuring out women can do a lot of things. Women are not hindered by our physical size or our mental abilities or anything."

Smith said she is seeing many more women in leadership roles. She pointed out that her battalion commander is the first female battalion commander of the 503rd Military Police Battalion at Fort Bragg.

“It's happening more, and it's definitely a positive thing," Smith said. "The best part is, it's not as big of a deal as it would otherwise be. A leader is a leader, which is cool."

In 1973, the first women graduated from the basic airborne course at Fort Bragg. Just how far women have come since then is not lost on Todd and Smith.

"This is a cool celebration because of people like my mom and the people who came before us who did have to fight through a lot more ceilings I guess you could say," Smith explained.

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Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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