Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cherry Jump!

My first scheduled jump from a CH-47 Chinook was canceled due to weather - it's still Monsoon season here. Lucky for me the balloon jump still happened. You go up in a small blimp-looking balloon that's tethered to a wench on the ground. The "gondola", a small, rickety, metal platform with vinyl siding takes up 4 American jumpers and our Korean jumpmaster - I'm told it's good for 6 Koreans. It's very different from any other platform we jump. Instead of a fast mass exit from a loud and fast moving aircraft, you step off the edge of the calm balloon one at a time, rocking the gondola for everyone else. Instead of a series of well rehearsed, exact commands and responses, our Korean host moved the chain out of the way and waved his hand - not unlike waiting in line for a carnival ride.

Being outside of a training command was a welcome change. The process of getting suited up and inspected, and the pre-brief and practice were a piece of cake. The controllable toggles and beautiful site added a nice touch.

Unfortunately my detachment sergeant wasn't available for my first jump. I missed the opportunity to be properly indoctrinated. He had cherry pies for each pocket in my cargo pants.

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