Life is not without a sense of irony. We purposely perform dangerous acts, hoping to be ok and just walk away. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is not a natural act, in fact it is stupid. Jumping out of an airplane when it is pitch black outside has to be the dumbest thing I have ever done. I had preformed this high-wire act on several different occasions, just like clockwork, you jump, land, wipe yourself off and move out. This time was different, it felt different, jumping out of that C-130 aircraft into the deep dark abyss, I felt like I was jumping into the oblivion. A scene kept reoccurring in my head, of me falling and falling, tumbling out of control, for what seemed like forever. Life has a way of throwing you curveballs, sometimes you just have to anticipate the pitch. This would be the last parachute jump I would take for the US Army.
When I woke up from my daydream I found myself caught in a tree, I tried to gain my bearing, there were only 12 jumpers in my stick, and the way the wind was blowing I was sure we were scattered. I pulled on my 550 cord, I was certainly stuck, and I tugged 2 more times, nothing happened. I dropped my equipment attached to me, through training, I learned that my gear usually travels about 10-15 feet per second, so as I dropped it, I counted off until I heard it hit the ground. 1001, 1002, 1003, then I heard it hit the ground, thinking to myself “that would be about 25-30 feet.” I was also taught that dropping gear can be dangerous, if you land on top of it, it can be more harm than good. Given the fact that I was 2-3 stories up, I was hoping my gear would break my fall, but I had no idea it would break my ankle.
The military is filled with objectivity; this is done to become proficient in task that might become the “worst case scenario”. No matter how painful or boring this training seems to be, I know now it has its purpose. Using what I learned, I grabbed my knife that was strapped to my side, for situations such as this. Reaching above me I grabbed a handful of 550 cords, just like grabbing a handful of tall grass as a child, with one swift stroke I cut the cords. I fell for what seemed like forever, I had the same dream of falling again, tumbling over and over. I landed on-top of my...