Jump...Part 2...from Hal:
When I made my first glide ride off the 250' tower, it as like nothing I'd
ever experienced before. The ground didn't come rushing up, but there was a sense of falling without any panic. I managed not to hurt myself (too much) and did a slightly gimpy double time back to the stand down line.
That same Black Hat came over to me and asked what I'd tell that Major now if he managed to sneak up on me again. I told him I'd report that the "view was great until the last ten feet of the (tethered) drop.
Before turning away from me, the Instructor asked what I felt. I remarked
something about being somewhere between nervous and scared. When he asked if it was the height that bothered me, I admitted it was. He then asked me how tall I was and I replied 5'10". With a mischievous look in his eyes he told me, "Well, Hell, soldier, the ground was at least 5 and a half feet closer than it looked to your eyes." I failed to find much comfort in that.
Week three hit with a vengeance. We started our qualification jumps. The
weather was good, winds were light and there were no excuses. We jumped.
The very first jump taught me a lot. As is with most paratroop jumps this was done on a static line. I found myself in the first stick of jumpers, about the 5th or 6th jumper from the door.
The command was given by the Jumpmaster to stand up, hook up and check the rigging of the man in front of and behind you. We were then told to stand in the door. No one was hardly settled when the green light came on and we started out the door. If I had wanted to stop, I couldn't have. The momentum of the moving line keep us going.
We landed, mostly intact, suffering only a few bruises and abrasions. Everyone gathered up their chute and headed to the other end of the LZ for our next jump.
I had a few moments to watch the plane as it circled back to allow another stick to step out on "God's Turf".
I immediately noticed a big difference between the 250' training tower and a 1200 or so foot actual jump. The height wasn't as noticeable, especially with my eyes closed. When I remembered the constant warning to open my eyes and did so, the sensation of falling wasn't that apparent until the last 75 to 100 feet of the fall. It was more like a floating sensation with a lot of things to do to land safely.
The other 3 day jumps went similarly well. The night jump was a different
There ain't a whole lot of light up there. You have some glow or reflected
light from ground sources, but the ground can make a sudden, bone jarring
I made it though all of that without any broken bones or any other major
As I said earlier, Jump School taught me a lot. The natural fear of jumping
was overcome by learning to be in the middle of the stick. First man in line to jump can balk and really foul up things from delaying the jump or making other troopers nervous. If you're last in line and hesitant, you might start looking at the Jumpmaster at the door and think you can take him and stay on the plane.
(I know guys who will tell you, "Ain't gonna happen.".) If you're in the middle of the stick and the line starts moving to the door, it's like being on a
conveyor belt. You going where the belt is going and you can't just stop. If you try to stop, the guys behind you will push you out into the 360 degree view.
As I think back on it all, including all the jumps I made after Jump School to
keep my Jump Pay coming in, I wonder! did I prove that only 2 things fall from the sky...bird crap and idiots?
So says our friend...Hal. Thanks again.