A CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade lands at Latham Drop Zone during the Little Group of Paratroopers event of All American Week, Fort Bragg, N.C. May 23. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Freeman/ 82nd CAB PAO)

Chinook blades chopped through the overcast sky over Fort Bragg as paratroopers floated to the ground.

Once the soldiers hit the ground, they ran into action. They had a matter of minutes to gather their parachutes and sprint to their assembly point to receive their next orders.

It’s no different than what’s expected of them every day, but during All American Week, paratroopers were fighting to prove they are the best in the 82nd Airborne Division.

It’s known as the Little Group of Paratroopers Competition, and it tests how quickly and accurately soldiers prepare their equipment, complete an airborne operation and meet at an assembly point in their little groups. Nine-man teams represented 20 units across the 82nd Airborne Division.

Time was added as penalties for errors. The fastest team would be named the best Little Group of Paratroopers.

About halfway through Monday’s competition, Staff Sgt. Marcus Sylvester’s team — made up of infantrymen from 1st Brigade Combat Team’s 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment — was leading.

He wasn’t surprised. In fact, Sylvester said he was confident they would win.


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