2011-12-23 / Front Page

Paratrooper jumps out of plane for smiles

By Anita Baker
By Anita Baker

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jacobs 
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt.JaJuan Broadnax Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Jacobs (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt.JaJuan Broadnax Major General Jeffrey Jacobs, a native of Columbia, and a second generation paratrooper, is currently in active service at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This year, Major General Jacobs participated in the 14th Annual Operation Toy Drop December 9-16.

The event has provided tens of thousands of toys for children in children’s homes, hospitals, and foster care in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and surrounding areas.

According to Major General Jacobs, Operation Toy Drop is an “airborne training event” designed to give military service members the opportunity to earn foreign airborne or “jump” wings in exchange for donating a toy for a child in need.

On Saturday, December 10, 2011, over 3,000 spectators watched 300 paratroopers jump in the “world’s largest combined airborne operation.” Operation Toy Drop was held in seven other cities: Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, Dallas, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Louis, Missouri, and on Staton Island in New York City, New York.

The combined donations of toys made nationwide by United States military service members and the public for Operation Toy Drop 2011 totaled 56,000 toys including 25,000 gifts collected at Fort Bragg.

Lieutenant Colonel Ostlund, spokesperson for the 2011 Operation Toy Drop, said the idea was created by Sargent First Class Randy Oler in 1998 who sought to combine his two passions of “jumping out of airplanes” and “putting smiles on kids faces.”

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