WEST POINT LAKE – West Overlook was a crowded place from morning to early afternoon on Friday when friends, family and relatives of U.S. Army soldiers gathered to watch some parachutes jump over West Point Lake.
Soldiers from Fort Benning’s 507th Infantry Regiment jumped from helicopters into the deep-sea section of the lake east of Anderson Park.
“This is my baby!” yelled an excited mother as her son slowly descended to a splash.
The training exercise was well coordinated. The helicopters each took eight jumpers and headed for a drop zone in which rubber dinghies circled the area where the parachutists safely hosed down. The boys in the boats drove to the landing sites to pick them up.
An estimated 80 soldiers took part. Some were on the helicopters and flew north from Fort Benning along the Chattahoochee River. Others arrived by military bus.
The road across the dam, Krafthausstrasse and Anderson Park were closed during the training exercise. West Overlook stayed open and provided an excellent vantage point, especially for those with binoculars and long lens cameras.
West Point Lake was selected for this one-day training exercise because it offers a large area for a safe landing in the water and ample land for staging purposes.
The 507th Regiment is at the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning. It is part of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, which includes the Basic Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Pathfinder School and the highly regarded Silver Wings Command Exhibition Parachute Team.
At the height of the Second World War, in July 1942 the 507th was built in Fort Benning.