“I am an Airborne trooper! A Paratrooper! I jump by parachute from any plane in flight. I volunteered to do it knowing well the hazards of my choice…”
Airborne school consists of three weeks of training: ground week, tower week, and jump week. Each week had its own challenges and learning experiences that taught me much about the Army and my faith in God.
Ground week is said to be one of the worst weeks of Airborne school, and that is true. The first few days of ground week consist of proper exit, canopy control, and what to do in case of malfunction. The last few days consist of PLF’s (Parachute Landing Falls). PLF’s are to teach you how to properly fall to prevent injury when you hit the ground. Parachute landings with the T10D or the T11 are equivalent to jumping out of a two-story building. Yes, it does hurt, and I was sore after PLF training, but God was good and protected me from any injuries.
During tower week, we practiced more training on proper exit from the plane, canopy control, and what to do in case of malfunction. This time it was from a 30-foot tower on a zip line.
I finally made it to jump week, which we all had been anticipating from day one. Early mornings, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), and waiting for hours characterizes this week the most.
As soon as I stepped up to the door on a C130 or C17 and was sucked out at more than 150 mph, I was only thinking, “One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand. I really hope my chute deployed!” After 20 seconds of hang time, you begin to see the ground coming closer and closer. When I was 100 feet off the ground and preparing to land, the ground came up quickly and I remember thinking “This is going to hurt!” Wham! I hit the ground, detached my chute and then the training kicked in. I packed up the chute and got off the field in only a few minutes. As I ran back to the pickup point, I found myself saying, “Thank you Lord for keeping me safe and, yee-haw, let’s do it again!”