Jumpers…HIT IT!

Today: +4
Days Rated: 58
Average Day: 3.05

So Plaza rigs my ruck for me and I proceed to the manifest, check my helmet, my dog tags, my ID, stand in line, stand in another line. It’s so cloudy when we leave the barracks that I can’t see the building next door. I take this as a good sign that the jump will be cancelled. We all pray that the jump is cancelled. It is my first time jumping the SAW. My first time jumping combat equipment in almost 2 years. I have a bad night’s sleep and can barely eat anything today. A lot of guys feel the same way. It starts to clear up. We throw our rucks on a truck and take a bus to the hangar. This is about my favorite part of jumping, because you can sleep on the bus. My other favorite parts are sleeping in the hangar and sleeping in the plane. Maybe you notice a trend here. When we got to the hangar, there was an OMEN. They were just throwing rucks off of the truck and being like “just take one inside, you can sort it out in there” So I grab one from this sergeant i didn’t know, and I ask my buddy, “Hey, whose do I have, so I can call out the name when I get inside.” He looks at me like I’m on crack and is like “Uh…yours.” Then I found out that the same thing happened to my good friend SGT Tiede. Since he didn’t want to jump either…that’s an OMEN! They decide to make us wait in the hangar for hours hoping the weather will clear up. I am hungry. Everyone else is quicker and runs into the Air Force breakroom like locusts swarm over crops. They steal lunches from the fridge, empty four cases of sodas that are probably not free, take corn dogs that someone brought to the office, and probably lick the plate too. I am left with an MRE that I have to steal from another company’s box when they’re not looking. I keep falling asleep, convinced that if I dream that the jump is scratched, it will be. The first chalk rigs up and waddles out to the plane. We’re next. I rig up.

Top Things you don’t want to hear the Jumpmaster say when he JMPI (inspects) you:
7. Rigger!
6. Holy sh1t, airborne, are you suicidal?
5. Hey, you guys, come take a look at what this numbnuts did! I never seen anything like this before! You know this would take your head clean off?
4. Hey, who’s your buddy who helped you rig? (to buddy) Is this guy f*cking your girlfriend? Is that why you want to kill him?
3. You really want to jump like this? Fine, go right ahead.
2. You plan on having children some day? Guess not.
1. Turn. Bend. Squat. Bend. Yeah, just like that. A little farther. Ohhh, yeah…

I’ve heard all of these comments except for #1 before. Sigh. I’m glad someone checks this crap, cause I’d have been dead long ago.

We finally waddle out to the bird. I have a SAW in a weapons case strapped underneath my left arm. A rucksack level with my crotch and hooked to my belt loop. A parachute on my back that feels like a rope tied over each shoulder, running through your crotch, and pulled tight. A reserve like a supersized fanny pack in front. My LCE with canteens and ammo pouches somewhere tangled up in this. A Kevlar helmet on my head. And I’m wearing Goretex jacket and polypro suit, big white VB boots, balaclava and gloves because it’s almost -20 outside. As we walk out, I try to figure out the proper way to release the weapon and rucksack right before I land, so that it slides harmlessly down, instead of me landing like a big pile of sh1t with all that stuff strapped to me. We get into the C130, and are sitting so close, our knees are interlocking with the guys across from us. We take off. The C130 is such a bumpy ride you can never tell whether you’re cruising in the air, or taxiing over gravel. We stand up, or try to. We can’t get the seats up. What would normally be cramped now becomes contorted. I am bent over backwards with SSG Lugo’s ruck in my face, and Lopez stepping on my foot. We hook up. The door opens. For one tiny moment, I just want to jump. Let me out of this hellhole. But no. It’s too cloudy. We unhook and sit down. Or try to. One of the seats on the other side of the plane is stuck. Sgt Z comes charging over, bellowing. The seat does not listen. He yells at the people who sat in it. The seat still is unmoved. He begins slamming it up and down, screaming profanity. I marvel that such a cool-headed individual is the jumpmaster entrusted with our lives.
This marks the only time I have ever LANDED in a C130. It was a turbulent bumpy ride. I am a bit dizzy. Many men weaker than I vomit. Tiede fills an entire bag. I can’t even tell when we’re on the ground. When we stop I finally allow myself to concede that the jump was scratched. It’s not like they announce it over the loudspeaker. You can’t hear shit in the plane and everything is confusing and you can’t see over your gear anyways. We waddle back to the hangar where we derig. Of course we’re told the standard line “We’re on your time now, men” Oh really? So that means I can take my time and relax? This is a line Sergeants use at the end of the day to tell the men to hurry up. The actual translation is “Hurry up, retards, I want to go home and drink beer and screw my wife.” We ride the bus back and this time I can’t sleep. I’m so giddy that I don’t have to jump, but I feel a little guilty that I prayed to God I wouldn’t have to, and then for 5 seconds when I was standing up miserably I wanted to jump out so badly. I get over this, and get some McDonald’s when I get back.
Honestly, I’m not a coward. Jumping is like an amusement park ride to me. Just a really unsafe amusement park ride that would have been banned by now.

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