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1 Parachute Battalion, Bloemfontein, South Africa: Parachute course completed in 1982

Image below: Lt. W. N. Van Zyl , fifth row up, fifth from the left . I remember all the excruciating exercises and training I had to endure during the 6 week course. The first 2 weeks consisted of physical training (PT) for 8 hours a day and the last 4 weeks of the 6 week course consisted of hangar and practical para training with mock-up planes and the initial  jumps. The 'wing parade' was the highlight when the Battalion Commander (Col. Van Graan) handed over the beret wings (insignia)to the new recruits. What a proud moment it was to wear the paratrooper maroon beret for the first time! Fond memories!

Image below: A scene of a Paratrooper qualification course in Bloemfontein, South Africa (1 Parachute Battalion). The image was uploaded by: Smikect at English Wikipedia . The troops are doing 'marble PT' (physical training with large concrete bricks) and the sessions times ranged between 30 to 60 minutes at a time. The aim was to test the endurance of soldiers (physically and mentally), and to prepare them for severe and testing conditions and situation on the battle field. Paratroopers are well know for their perseverance, resilience and tenacity in battle. Notice the 'aapkas' (mock-up plane) para training unit on stilts raised above the ground in the background of the picture. This mock-up box was used to train paratroopers to jump from planes. The soldiers were strapped into a harness and then they were dispatched by the trainer from the door in the box.  A cable and pulley system carried them across the parade ground shown in the picture form left to right. Once the jump was completed the paratrooper in training was then hooked off by the trainers and the harness was pulled back for the next paratrooper in the box.

1 Valskerm Battaljon, Bloemfontein, Vrystaat, RSA. 1 Parachute Battalion, Bloemfontein, RSA.

Image below: Maroon beret of 1 Parachute Battalion, Bloemfontein, South Africa. The antelope signifies infantry, the rest speaks for itself.


Reserve units are military units where soldiers receive further training and perform duties for short periods of time (e.g. 3 months at a time) while in civilian life. I remember being part of 3 month camps: Alexandra Township (Johannesburg), Exercise 'Iron Eagle", Training 'Air Assault Battle' course (Capt.) in Bloemfontein, Free State, General Training at Murray-hill 44 Parachute Brigade (C-Company) near Pretoria.  

44 Parachute Brigade - Reserve Units. 44 Valskerm Brigade - Reserwe eenhede.

Video below: Examples of Good Paratrooper Jump Techniques

Uploaded on Oct 26, 2007 by Strength Through Humility (YouTube).

Illustration of great parachute jumping techniques,  except for two jumpers who stutter-stepped at the door and were spun around upon exit.  These experienced paratroopers have came up with their own method to walk at a 45 degree angle to the exit door and then step out from the jump platform with the leg leading into the slipstream first, and then snapping into a tight body position "knife edge" to cut through the air smoothly and not be spun around. 

Video below: Shows training of 1 Parachute Battalion recruits in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa (1989).

Video uploaded by Marnus Ferreira: 

Uploaded on May 2, 2011

28 April 1989 - 1 Parachute Battalion -Training of Paratroopers in the SANDF (South African National Defence Force).
AO Andre Lourens, AO Schutte, AO Marius van der Merwe.

Video below: Paratrooper training in 1984. 

Uploaded on May 9, 2008 by MOERTOE65

Training of paratroopers in the old SADF, 1 Parachute Batallion, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Compilation of still images.


Barracks (sleeping quarters)- South African Infantry School, Oudtshoorn, Cape Province, South Africa(Uploaded to Panaramio by nduma, 2007-all rights reserved).  

I remember being trained as a junior leader at this facility in 1982, Bravo Company (teachers). 


    Uploaded on September 14, 2007 © All Rights Reserved  by nduma

      • Camera: Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
      • Taken on 2006/11/10 16:17:30
      • Exposure: 0.003s (1/320)
      • Focal Length: 18.00mm
      • F/Stop: f/11.000
      • ISO Speed: ISO400
      • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
      • No flash 

    Below: South African Infantry School Insignia, Oudtshoorn, Cape Provice. RSA. "Exerce Perfectioni" (Strive for excellence). Attribution: By Caracal Rooikat (Microsoft Paint Previously published: nil) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons. 

    Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)