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“I’ve done this before,” I said to myself as I was packing my own parachute, again and again, making sure I check all the critical points (uhh, can you define “critical? because it’s all critical to me.”) At this point, I have well over 60 static line parachute jumps. The difference being with a static line all you have to do is jump. (Easy right?) The parachute deploys by itself and you fall for approximately three to six seconds. The aircraft is relatively low, usually 1,250 feet above ground level. In free-fall parachuting, you fall for 40 or more seconds, control yourself during the fall and deploy your own parachute. The height varies usually from about 12,500 feet up to 25,000 feet above ground level. And in static line you don’t pack your own parachute, trained professionals do … or so I am told.
It all started when I was selected to become a Warrant Officer. You get what is colloquially known as “dream sheet.” Being an astute NCO I searched out the Warrant Officers in my sphere and asked “hey, any suggestions on what I should put on this?” Resulting in sideways looks (“go away kid you bother me…”) and usually the “no idea, never filled it out…” standard response. So I ran with it. Special Forces, known as SF, also stands for Schools Forever. There are a number of schools most SF guys want from survival schools to Sniper school, language training, and Close Quarters Combat training – the list goes on and on. Then there’s the vaunted W9 identifier meaning you are both Military Free Fall (MFF) and Combat Diver qualified (scuba school). The difference being one is high profile, low physical stress, zoom and boom course, the other is a watery nightmare. I’ll let you decide which is which. Anyway, I put about a dozen courses on the sheet never expecting any of it to see the light of day. Lo and behold when my orders arrived after graduating Warrant Officer Training I was off to Military Free Fall school.