William N. "Red" King, the first U.S. paratrooper, died Saturday. He was 71.
King, who served in World War II and in Korea, is credited with 350 jumps, including training jumps.He was supposed to be the second member of the Army's first parachute test platoon to go out the door on Aug. 16, 1940, at Fort Benning, Ga.
"The guy ahead of me, I won't say his name, wouldn't jump," King recalled in a 1982 interview. So after the other trooper was pulled from the door, King stepped in and stepped out of the converted bomber circling above Fort Benning's Law-son Field.