Stunning photos of what looked like a space battle straight out of Star Wars or Independence Day erupting in the skies over Ft. Bragg recently went viral. What people saw and captured in the amazing photos was indeed some very advanced weapons fire, but it had a very terrestrial origin.
What looked like laser beams in the impressive video were really weapons being fired by Fort Bragg’s paratroopers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, practicing their combined arms live-fire exercise. The photos which first appeared on the 82nd’s Facebook page show the paratroopers “owning the night.” The photos went viral, with over 3,500 likes and over 500 shares. The photos were captured by PFC Vincent Levelev.
Taken at night with long exposure, the variety of weaponry looked like something from the distant future – neon lasers flashing through dark clouds.
One particularly stunning image showed a glowing green pillar reaching into the heavens. Fort Bragg’s social media page did not detail the weaponry used in each photo, instead leaving the bright lights and streaks to the imagination of commenters.
Comments like, “Did you get an Ion Cannon?” and “It looks like Thor coming through the Bifrost” filled the comment section of the viral video.
“Our Paratroopers remain ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the U.S. with no notice, anywhere in the world in 18 hours or less,” said the post.
The 82nd Airborne Division is an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in joint forcible entry operations. Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is the primary fighting arm of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The 82nd Division was constituted in the National Army on August 5th, 1917, and was organized on August 25th, 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia.
Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the unit acquired the nickname “All American,” which is the basis for its famed “A.A.” shoulder patch. The mission of the 82nd Airborne Division is to, within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault, and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests.
Among famous members of the 82nd Airborne were: Actor Dennis Franz, Fashion critic/choreographer Bruce Darnell, R&B singer Lou Rawls, Actor William Windom, and Sergeant Alvin C. York, the famous “Sgt. York” one of the most decorated soldiers in the U.S. Army.