With the advent of large Airborne units during World War II and the increased importance of aerial resupply of troops on the ground, there was a lengthy postwar debate on who and how the critical “supply by air” mission should be handled.
As a result of numerous studies, committee meetings, and board recommendations the Quartermaster Corps formally assumed major responsibilities in this field in the spring of 1950. New functions included the storing, maintaining, and issuing of all types of airborne equipment. Also development of new load-bearing platforms, airdrop techniques and procedures. And the very important mission of trainingairborne personnel.
The Quartermaster airborne program got off to a flying start with the opening of the first Parachute Packing, Maintenance, and Aerial Delivery Course at Fort Lee on 21 May 1951. The Quartermaster General, MG Herman Feldman, gave a brief address at the opening ceremony. A few minutes later, 4 officers and 55 enlisted soldiers began training.
In the accompanying picture, MG L. L. Lemnitzer, Commander of the 11th Airborne Division (far left), LTC A. E. Dodge, Department Director (center), and BG Andrew T. McNamara, Acting Post Commander (right), are shown talking to the two top graduates of that first class in August 1951.