This magazine from November-December 1940 is the earliest one I have about the beginning of the parachute troops. The feature article is called ‘The Tentative Parachute Battalion’.
Here we can see the earliest parachutist uniforms and equipment. Most parachutists in the photos wear HBT coveralls with a white name tape over the left breast pocket, and they wear a khaki twill overseas cap without piping and with the 29th Infantry Regiment distinguished unit insignia (DUI). This regiment supplied the first volunteer troops for this experimental unit. This unit was called the 501st Parachute Battalion, out of which the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment aka ‘Geronimo’ would be formed.
The so-called Test Platoon was established on June 26, 1940. The article copy doesn’t mention it, but these photographs would have been taken at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. It wasn’t until later that the unit moved to Fort Benning, where the bulk of WWII paratroopers were to be trained.
We also see T-4 parachutes (note the large square shaped reserve packs).
On the last page we see a very early .30 cal. machine gun with a barrel shroud with slots rather than round ventilation holes.