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My First Jump

 

I graduated from U.S. Army Jump School in January of 1981. Two weeks later I was making my first jump with my new unit, B Company, 1/325 Airborne Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

But it wasn’t just my first jump, we – our battalion – was jumping into Panama to attend Jungle School.

Jumps are pretty nerve-racking. Jumping into the jungle is double-espresso nerve-racking. Only our platoon sergeant had been to Jungle School before (plus a couple of tours in Vietnam), so the rest of the platoon was worried sick about the jump and the jungle environment: snakes, spiders, ants, and weird diseases for starters. The dangers and fears mix with the adventurous feeling one always gets from doing something new.

After a few days of briefings, lectures, issued jungle boots and shots, we are packed and began the slow serpentine trail of movement, catnaps, and manifest roll-calls, finally arriving at Pope Air Force base, adjacent to Fort Bragg.

For this trip we were taking six aircraft, C-141’s, each holding 50 to 120 paratroopers. One C-141 was simply going to air land. The trip would take about 10 hours and require us to in-flight rig. And yes, the Air Force served us lunch. A box lunch, with little white barf bags included. There was also a “comfort” pallet, or bathroom, on-board

About halfway to Panama, in-flight rigging started. In-flight rigging requires a paratrooper, with the assistance of Army Jumpmasters, Safeties and Air Force Loadmasters, to dawn his parachute, hook up equipment such as rucksacks (backpacks), rifles, and crew weapons and then safety check it all. In my C-141, we had a full 120 troopers complement, so this process took many agonizing hours. Once ‘chuted up, I returned to my seat (these are full bench cargo seats designed for paratroopers) and a longer agony began because, like my fellow paratroopers, my rucksack was full, weighing about 120 pounds, containing an M-60 machine gun tripod with T&E, two cans of blank M-60 ammo, plus two PRC-77 radio batteries for good measure. In order to sit, my ruck had to lie on top of my legs, thus cutting off nearly all circulation– welcome to the Airborne.

Soon we were approaching the Caribbean coast of Panama. My nerves were frazzled – no real sleep in the last 24 hours (as it turns out, this is the norm for most of our jumps). Everyone was in his own little world; either one’s eyes were focused off into space or closed, pretending to get a little sleep. The anxiety was high. The aircraft was noisy and nobody was talking.

“Thirty minutes!” commands the Jumpmaster. “Stand up!”

The slow process of men and load getting to their feet began, one at a time, with the assistance of Safeties, Jump and Loadmasters. The relief of having a heavy pack frame removed from thigh muscles is replaced with full weight on your shoulders.

Have you ever had pregame jitters? Your stomach has butterflies, a lump in your throat, mouth dry, and heart pounding so bad you swear you can hear it. This is that – only in spades. You see, in the back of every paratrooper’s mind is the thought that … well, he could die. This is not a 100 percent fail-proof activity: accidents happen a lot. Parachutes fail, collapse, tangle, Roman candle, and May-West. And the most dangerous: paratroopers colliding with each other. It can happen on exit or descent and since we are using steerable parachutes, MC1-1 round with two rear controllable panels, the odds of this go up.

There is no mistaking when the doors open on a C-141. The two side doors aren’t very far from the engines and the 160 knot speed (slowing to 110 knots jump speed) turns a jet engine cacophony into a noise hellscape.

When the doors come open, the air oppresses us. From winter at Fort Bragg to the equatorial heat and humidity of Panama, it’s definitive. It’s as if a hot, wet wool blanket has been thrown upon me. The aircraft A/C units above hiss chilled white streams but it never reaches the suffering cargo below.

Having gone through all our airborne commands, our static lines are hooked up to the anchor line, safety checked, and ready to go – my ears are pounding out my heartbeat.

The Jumpmaster counts down 10 paratroopers and tells them they’re the first stick. You see, this is a small drop zone – 10 seconds – located next to the old French Canal. By regulations, only one man per second is supposed to exit the door. If you did the math, there are two doors, 120 paratroopers, which is six sticks per door — in theory. So now what? We racetrack! The five C-141’s will each drop a stick and follow each other in a racetrack shaped route or pattern, each time around dropping a stick over the drop zone.

The moment of truth arrives for the first stick, as we are coming to the drop zone. The Jumpmasters are waiting. The stick is monitoring the red light, waiting for it to go green – green light! – and they exit the door. Static lines pop, men shuffle forward. The stick ends and the Jumpmaster must physically stop the 11th man.

The sun is glaring through the door with a strange 1970s Kodak film quality hue. I can see jungle through a porthole window – green. The plane flies on its racetrack route, tilting as it executes the first turn; we look through the door and see jungle. It gets rough. We’re the third plane in the racetrack and the air is turbulent. The rotting jungle smell has reached us. It mixes with the jet exhaust fumes and vomit. Yes, vomit from nearly everyone. The racetrack is causing the turbulence to increase dramatically – even the Air Force Loadmasters are puking. The aircraft plummets and jumps like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The pilot is throttling the engines back and forth trying to maintain a slow drop speed and correct yaw, and keeping the plane flying in the dense humidity through multi-jet turbulence, all while maintaining the flight pattern. This is a rollercoaster ride of gravity, heat, and smell that no Disneyland could ever match.

Inside our aircraft it’s like a bucking bronco on crack. Men are buckling at the knees and someone has gone down. The Jumpmasters and Safeties pick him up. Safeties continue going up and down the bay checking static lines. The men are pushing forward. I’m about number 18 from the door but we are smashed together like a cartoon accordion of clowns — my feet no longer are touching the floor. The trooper behind me says “Don’t stop. We are going out the door.” OK, no argument from me. The lurching aircraft is taking its toll on our heavily loaded bodies — other troopers behind me are yelling, “Get us the hell out of here!” The primary Jumpmaster has his foot braced against the bulkhead door frame while holding the first paratrooper with both arms. Another Jumpmaster is holding onto that Jumpmaster – this is happening!

Green Light!

We’ve all had those moments in life, like your first kiss, the opening kickoff ball comes your way, the first pitch of the game – where everything goes into slow motion. This is one of those.

I don’t remember moving my feet, but they must have moved. I got to the door, swept along with flow of troopers behind me, and I exited. And as if a small miracle had happened, the sound-hurricane ended immediately. I counted one-thousand, two-thousand…. My feet skirted across a parachute canopy of a paratrooper below me. I looked up to check my parachute and watched dark footprints run across my canopy then disappear.

Then I saw my risers — the straps that connect my harness to parachute cord, which then in turn connect to the canopy – they are twisted. To fix this problem I have to bicycle my legs, which in turn gets me counter-spinning quickly. As I gently untwist, I take in the view. Now this is one of the dividends of jumping: getting those few moments of where you can just relax (but still look out for other troopers) and look around. Our “steerable” parachutes have about a seven-knot speed so collisions are possible and deadly. I notice the French Canal has a motorboat heading over to pick a paratrooper out of the water. I see another motorboat just circling, waiting for another off-course, waterbound paratrooper.

Finally I get my parachute completely untwisted but realize I’m only a few hundred feet from the ground. I quickly pull my rucksack releases and it drops to the extent of its 20 feet. I’m running with the wind – which is not good – add seven knots canopy speed to whatever the wind was and that’s how fast I’m going. But there is no time to turn back into the wind – I’m going in hard!

Then a true miracle happened. As I braced myself for what was sure to be a nose-first, ass-over-tea-kettle landing, my rucksack hanging below me caught something on the ground. The parachute continued to pull me over. Picture a balloon blowing sideways on a string as you hold it in the wind – that’s me.

Gulp — here comes the ground!

Only it didn’t come. I gently pushed over and stopped on 10-foot-high elephant grass. And there I was suspended four feet above the ground, horizontal.

Boy, was I ever happy. What a relief. I’m slung between my rucksack line and parachute. It was a bit like wiping out in deep powder snow and not being able to get a solid foot hold. I began disconnecting releases on the harness and, soon, I actually touched down on terra firma.

I did all the proper paratrooper things: removed my rifle from its case, gathered up the parachute and put in the canvas kit back, stored my rucksack harness and lower line. More planes were coming over so I looked up to watch. What a sight – paratroopers and little white snowflakes filled the sky. Wait! What!? Those little white snowflakes are little white bags — barf bags. Dozens and dozens of the small white vomit bags issued by the Air Force crews fluttering down from the sky – welcome to Panama.

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Members have made 40 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Judithann Campbell Member

    Thank you for your service, and thank you for this post! One of my cousins was a paratrooper; My Dad who is a WWII veteran has always had the utmost respect for men who, as he puts it, jump out of perfectly good airplanes 🙂

    • #1
    • August 10, 2017 at 11:58 am
    • Like7 likes
  2. Profile photo of PHCheese Member

    It takes big ones to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I have a buddy that did 12 HAHO jumps into Laos and Cambodia as a member of SOG. He did two tours interrupted by six months in the hospital and medical leave. The stories he tells after a few beers. Glad you survived JGW

    • #2
    • August 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm
    • Like7 likes
  3. Profile photo of LC Member
    LC

    My grandfather broke his leg his first jump.

    • #3
    • August 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm
    • Like5 likes
  4. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    LC (View Comment):
    My grandfather broke his leg his first jump.

    Wow! Did he ever finish the training?

    • #4
    • August 10, 2017 at 3:38 pm
    • Like2 likes
  5. Profile photo of Steve C. Member

    Good story and well told.

    • #5
    • August 10, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    • Like7 likes
  6. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    Good story and well told.

    Thanks.

    • #6
    • August 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    • Like1 like
  7. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    Jim,

    Outstanding job. As a guy who spent some time on jump status, one of the best descriptive accounts I’ve seen of the process jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and relying on a silk canopy that must unfurl perfectly from a nylon deployment bag to avoid going splat.

    You do realize, Airborne, you just done volunteered to write a similarly spectacular post about JOTC, right?

    • #7
    • August 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm
    • Like8 likes
  8. Profile photo of dajoho Member

    JimGoneWild:Inside our aircraft it’s like a bucking bronco on crack. Men are buckling at the knees and someone has gone down. The Jumpmasters and assistances pick him up. Assistance Jumpmasters continue going up and down the bay checking static lines. The men are pushing forward. I’m about number 18 from the door but we are smashed together like a cartoon accordion of clowns — my feet no longer are touching the floor. The trooper behind me says “Don’t stop. We are going out the door.” OK, no argument from me. The lurching aircraft is taking its toll on our heavily loaded bodies — other troopers behind me are yelling, “Get us the hell out of here!” The primary Jumpmaster has his foot braced against the bulkhead door frame while holding the first paratrooper with both arms. Another Jumpmaster is holding onto that Jumpmaster – This is happening!

    Only the military can take something scary and make it suck so bad that you do-not-care; just get me outta’ this plane – I’ll deal with it. Great story JGW.

    • #8
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm
    • Like11 likes
  9. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Jim,

    Outstanding job. As a guy who spent some time on jump status, one of the best descriptive accounts I’ve seen of the process jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and relying on a silk canopy that must unfurl perfectly from a nylon deployment bag to avoid going splat.

    You do realize, Airborne, you just done volunteered to write a similarly spectacular post about JOTC, right?

    Mr. Mongo, I appreciate the kind words, particularly coming from a person who has seen and done all. As for JOTC write up, an ex-SEAL might find it rather bland. I’ll think about it. Again, thanks. All The Way!

    • #9
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm
    • Like3 likes
  10. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    dajoho (View Comment):
    Only the military can take something scary and make it suck so bad that you do-not-care; just get me outta’ this plane – I’ll deal with it. Great story JGW.

    Your about to walk off the ramp–oops, 82nd–step off the jump door into the unknown, and all you can think about is LaMaz breathing…

    • #10
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm
    • Like4 likes
  11. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Jim,

    Outstanding job. As a guy who spent some time on jump status, one of the best descriptive accounts I’ve seen of the process jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and relying on a silk canopy that must unfurl perfectly from a nylon deployment bag to avoid going splat.

    You do realize, Airborne, you just done volunteered to write a similarly spectacular post about JOTC, right?

    Mr. Mongo, I appreciate the kind words, particularly coming from a person who has seen and done all. As for JOTC write up, an ex-SEAL might find it rather bland. I’ll think about it. Again, thanks.

    SEALs!? There’re SEALs on this site? Scandalous, sir. Probably that @dajoho guy…or @ST…

    • #11
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm
    • Like4 likes
  12. Profile photo of dajoho Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Jim,

    Outstanding job. As a guy who spent some time on jump status, one of the best descriptive accounts I’ve seen of the process jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and relying on a silk canopy that must unfurl perfectly from a nylon deployment bag to avoid going splat.

    You do realize, Airborne, you just done volunteered to write a similarly spectacular post about JOTC, right?

    Mr. Mongo, I appreciate the kind words, particularly coming from a person who has seen and done all. As for JOTC write up, an ex-SEAL might find it rather bland. I’ll think about it. Again, thanks.

    SEALs!? There’re SEALs on this site? Scandalous, sir. Probably that @dajaho guy…or @ST…

    SEAL?!?! you cut me deep Shrek……….

    • #12
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm
    • Like3 likes
  13. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    dajoho (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Jim,

    Outstanding job. As a guy who spent some time on jump status, one of the best descriptive accounts I’ve seen of the process jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft and relying on a silk canopy that must unfurl perfectly from a nylon deployment bag to avoid going splat.

    You do realize, Airborne, you just done volunteered to write a similarly spectacular post about JOTC, right?

    Mr. Mongo, I appreciate the kind words, particularly coming from a person who has seen and done all. As for JOTC write up, an ex-SEAL might find it rather bland. I’ll think about it. Again, thanks.

    SEALs!? There’re SEALs on this site? Scandalous, sir. Probably that @dajaho guy…or @ST…

    SEAL?!?! you cut me deep Shrek……….

    My apologies. Forgive me for thinking. A previous read flashed before my eyes and .. well, I’ll knock out 50 push-ups just for thinking. Airborne!

    • #13
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm
    • Like2 likes
  14. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    In all seriousness, jumping is a suckfest. The in-flight rigging JGW describes just…really, really blows (and might I say, it’s not much fun for the Jumpmasters/safeties rigging and then inspecting jumpers). The amount of gear “they” want you to jump with is ridiculous. You really do end up doing LaMaz breathing just to stay conscious.

    I was a long-haired, dope smoking, ear-ringed punk when JGW was jumping into Jungle School (which, by the way and the reason I alluded to it above, is its own suckfest. So, it’s chained suckfests).

    Paratroopers are compensated for the august privilege of doing this by getting hazardous duty pay (today) of a whopping $150/month. In ’81, I’m guessing $85/month (JGW, please correct me if I’m waay off azimuth).

    Why do these amazing Americans do it? Ain’t for the pay. God bless them.

    • #14
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    • Like6 likes
  15. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):
    Airborne!

    All the way.

    • #15
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm
    • Like1 like
  16. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    In all seriousness, jumping is a suckfest. The in-flight rigging JGW describes just…really, really blows (and might I say, it’s not much fun for the Jumpmasters/safeties rigging and then inspecting jumpers). The amount of gear “they” want you to jump with is ridiculous. You really do end up doing LaMaz breathing just to stay conscious.

    I was a long-haired, dope smoking, ear-ringed punk when JGW was jumping into Jungle School (which, by the way and the reason I alluded to it above, is its own suckfest. No, it’s chained suckfests).

    Paratroopers are compensated for the august privilege of doing this by getting hazardous duty pay (today) of a whopping $150/month. In ’81, I’m guessing $85/month (JGW, please correct me if I’m waay off azimuth).

    Why do these amazing Americans do it? Ain’t for the pay. God bless them.

    Suckfest pay had just leeped .. leaped? to $110 per month from a long established $55 a month. God bless Ronald Reagan.

    • #16
    • August 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    • Like4 likes
  17. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Addendum: it turned out, 23 paratroopers exited my stick. So much for a ten-man drop zone.

    Our platoon finished 1st in the battalion.

    Our squad nearly broke the Green Hell obstical course record by a full minute but for our squad leader having a near heart attack on the final obstacle. We missed by a minute.

    One man landed in the triple layer canopy and broke his back. It took hours to get him down.

    • #17
    • August 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm
    • Like3 likes
  18. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):
    Our squad nearly broke the Green Hell obstical course record by a full minute but for our squad leader having a near heart attack on the final obstacle. We missed by a minute.

    Like I said: whole new post required, brother.

    One man landed in the triple layer canopy and broke his back. It took hours to get him down.

    Nope, brother Jim, this comment is a hedge to keep from writing another excellent post on JOTC.

    • #18
    • August 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm
    • Like1 like
  19. Profile photo of Painter Jean Member

    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    • #19
    • August 10, 2017 at 7:01 pm
    • Like2 likes
  20. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    Yes, both parachutes we used, mc1-1 and t-10 were both round. The mc1-1 was steerable as I describe above, but not as manuvuerable as para-wing or square. These are tactical parachutes. Today, they use large square, like a house square, parachutes. Check YouTube out. Thanks.

    • #20
    • August 10, 2017 at 7:13 pm
    • Like1 like
  21. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    It takes big ones to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I have a buddy that did 12 HAHO jumps into Laos and Cambodia as a member of SOG. He did two tours interrupted by six months in the hospital and medical leave. The stories he tells after a few beers. Glad you survived JGW

    Amazing. HAHO, HALO and LALO jumps are all dangerous. I remember Congress shutting down free fall school on several occasions because of deaths. Wives left SF soldiers just because of this school. Your friend is a stud. Thanks.

    • #21
    • August 10, 2017 at 7:37 pm
    • Like4 likes
  22. Profile photo of Muleskinner Member

    I’ve spent some time riding in the back of C130’s and C141’s and always marveled at how uncomfortable the jump seats were (even without the 120 pounds of gear in your lap). Not only would the bar at the front of the bench cut off the circulation to your legs, every 3rd or 4th position had a cross bar that held the front of the bench to the back of the bench that would burrow its way into a butt-cheek and light up a sciatic nerve. I don’t know how I managed, but I always seemed to pick one of the seats with the crossbar.

    I was always glad I didn’t have do to anything physically demanding or dangerous at the end of those trips. Bless all of you who did.

    • #22
    • August 10, 2017 at 7:38 pm
    • Like6 likes
  23. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    A few more items: we jumped hundreds, even thousands, of men at a time. Square chutes on mass scale, are impractical, especially when carrying lots of equipment. Mortar tubes, bipods and baseplates go out with jumpers too. Limiting risk and getting combat soldiers to the ground is the key.

    • #23
    • August 10, 2017 at 8:21 pm
    • Like2 likes
  24. Profile photo of Painter Jean Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    A few more items: we jumped hundreds, even thousands, of men at a time. Square chutes on mass scale, are impractical, especially when carrying lots of equipment. Mortar tubes, bipods and baseplates go out with jumpers too. Limiting risk and getting combat soldiers to the ground is the key.

    Forgive me asking more questions – are the square parachutes impractical because of their forward travel? And do the round chutes allow you to carry more weight?

    • #24
    • August 10, 2017 at 9:20 pm
    • LikeLike
  25. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    A few more items: we jumped hundreds, even thousands, of men at a time. Square chutes on mass scale, are impractical, especially when carrying lots of equipment. Mortar tubes, bipods and baseplates go out with jumpers too. Limiting risk and getting combat soldiers to the ground is the key.

    Forgive me asking more questions – are the square parachutes impractical because of their forward travel? And do the round chutes allow you to carry more weight?

    It’s about reliability and safety. A combat jump is very low, 300 to 600 feet. Mobility is not necessary.

    • #25
    • August 10, 2017 at 9:31 pm
    • Like1 like
  26. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Great story!

    Many moons ago, my husband and I spent a summer skydiving. It was just before AFF became the usual method for training students, so we did static line. I think it would be relatively easy to jump out of a plane versus having to climb out on the wing strut and then hang there before letting go, as we did!

    I’ve wondered if the military had gone to square parachutes – did you have a round?

    A few more items: we jumped hundreds, even thousands, of men at a time. Square chutes on mass scale, are impractical, especially when carrying lots of equipment. Mortar tubes, bipods and baseplates go out with jumpers too. Limiting risk and getting combat soldiers to the ground is the key.

    Forgive me asking more questions – are the square parachutes impractical because of their forward travel? And do the round chutes allow you to carry more weight?

    It’s about reliability and safety. A combat jump is very low, 300 to 600 feet. Mobility is not necessary.

    Also, when you’re pushing out a battalion or brigade of airborne hoowa’s, you want them all going in the same direction. Give them highly maneuverable ‘chutes, you’ll have all kind of folk flying around, doing the individual thing. Bad juju.

    • #26
    • August 11, 2017 at 9:17 am
    • Like3 likes
  27. Profile photo of Patrick McClure Member

    One of the few WWII stories my Dad would tell was that after he was drafted he volunteered for paratrooper because of the higher pay. He went through all of the ground training. Then they went up for their first jump. He would not leave the plane, and nothing anyone did, from screaming at him, to attempts to peel him off of whatever he had a hold of, worked. The plane landed, he de-planed and was back in the infantry by that evening.

    Thanks for a vivid account Jim. Great reading.

    • #27
    • August 11, 2017 at 9:31 am
    • Like5 likes
  28. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Also, when you’re pushing out a battalion or brigade of airborne hoowa’s, you want them all going in the same direction. Give them highly maneuverable ‘chutes, you’ll have all kind of folk flying around, doing the individual thing. Bad juju.

    Exactly. We had guys who would try like hell to hit the trees at Sicily DZ. The Air Force was pretty good about keeping us away but a few guys would make it now and then.

    • #28
    • August 11, 2017 at 9:33 am
    • Like1 like
  29. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member
    JimGoneWild Post author

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):
    He would not leave the plane, and nothing anyone did, from screaming at him, to attempts to peel him off of whatever he had a hold of, worked. The plane landed, he de-planed and was back in the infantry by that evening.

    Oh, man! That takes more guts than jumping.

    My local Airborne association had a member (he passed away a year ago) that his first 3 of 5 jumps were Combat Jumps. Can you imagine that?

    • #29
    • August 11, 2017 at 9:39 am
    • Like2 likes
  30. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Stud.

    • #30
    • August 11, 2017 at 11:00 am
    • Like3 likes
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