Friday, May 25, 2007

Chopper Jump

Well, it is time for an update. We have had a very heavy training schedule, most days I am up at 0500 and work until 1700-1800. The last few weeks I have had training on several software programs we will be using to conduct analysis, along with brushing up on MOS skills (MOS is what the Army calls your job), plus all stuff that goes along with mobilizing - paperwork, more paperwork, drawing gear from supply, briefings on everything under the sun, and of course supervising cleaning details.

But yesterday was one of those days that makes it all worth it - we jumped out of UH-60 Blackhawks. Chopper jumps are definitely the best we get to do. You sit in the open door and get to take in the view as the bird takes off and moves to the DZ. Then when it is time to jump, you just scoot out the door.

You aren't moving that fast, so there isn't the same blast of air when you jump out of a plane. And yesterday was a gorgeous day for jumping, with just enough wind to offset the forward thrust of our chutes to allow you to land straight down if you steered the chute just right. We use the SF-10, which is a steerable chute, developed by the forest service for Smokejumpers, since they have to jump into some really small DZs. I was able to get two jumps in yesterday, and my buddy T was trying to get us on a 3rd, but we ran out of time and chutes. Many thanks to the aircrew for a great day and to the riggers (the guys who pack our chutes) for a safe landing.

Here is a great video someone else has posted on YouTube if you want to see the whole ride.

I've got a 4 day weekend, so I will probably post again, but after that I may not have much time or connectivity for a while, since my company is going to JRTC for a training rotation. While LA is hot, humid, and miserable JRTC is a fantastic national resource for being able to train under realistic conditions. It has 100s of role players, a dozen villages, and a real US Army Infantry unit whose full time job is to play the bad guys. It basically sucks and is hard, but you get a lot of lessons learned in a non-lethal environment, so it is the time to make and correct mistakes, all in all I am glad we are going, although this will be my 3rd time there.

(grumpy notes: for OPSEC reasons, none of the pictures posted on this blog that show anyone's face are of my unit, I pull them from other places on the web so you can see what I am talking about.)