Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:32 AM
Not sure where this was taken. Years ago I made 2 jumps with Navy/Marines at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. I was assigned at Bragg, but on Special Duty at Ft Dix. I needed to make a "pay" jump. I was going to drive back to Bragg, but a fellow I worked with was sure the Navy had jumpers at Lakehurst. Sure enough, they did. I got approval from Bragg to make a jump. It would,make me the last man in the Army to make an official "pay jump" from a WW2 C-47. When I chutes up, I mentioned to the jumpmaster, that I was missing the safety wire that goes through the gate on my reserve. His answer, "It will work if you need it". I didn't question it again. I needed my $55.00! When we boarded, I was the last man on. It seemed that they wanted their Public Affairs to take a photo of me? Up in the sky, I was to be the first jumper. The door was open, and the red light on. I looked down. I asked the jumpmaster, "How,high are we"? He replied, "5,000 feet". I smiled and said, "nice ride"! He asked me how high we usually jumped? I said to him, "800 to 1,000 feet". He was a bit shocked. And I said, " this is nice, a Hollywood jump, (no combat gear) and 5,000. Then he asked "how many jumps I had"? I told him it was 40-something? He hollered at the others "Watch this man here, he has over 40 jumps". I didn't know what that was about, I figured, "joke time". I jumped and about 5 minutes later, I was on the ground. I was asked, "do you want to go again". My reply was "of course, I'll jump all day at 5,000 feet and Hollywood! I went again. Got on this open-bed truck back to the huge "Hindenburg Hanger". There was a big Maltese cross on the roof. Anyway, this guy asked how many jumps I had? He must not have known I was Army, as we were wearing no insignia or tapes on those uniforms, and the Marines had recently adopted them. When he saw my black pin-on wings, he said: "Why are you wearing those wings"? I replied, "Oh, I'm in the Army, not the Marine Corps. We don't get those pretty gold wings for making 5-more jumps". A few minutes later, he said to me, "oh, I see you have my reserve"? I didn't understand. And then he pointed at the white ducking with a number stenciled on the flap. I then asked him, "How many jumps you got". He held his hand up and his fingers as he said, "THAT WAS MY SECOND"!!!!!!! And I jumped that reserve, missing the safety wire "twice". I didn't ask, "who" packed my main! I got my jump manifest and mailed it to Bragg. I jumped with this kid that packed my reserve, on his first jump! And whoever packed my main, his first jump as well. Never again did I jump at Lakehurst NAS. So even then, these guys didn't get jump qualified at Ft Benning. They did "one-stop" training at Lakehurst for their para packers. Next time I jumped was at Ft Devens with 10th SFG!