Joining the Army taught me many things, like shooting a rifle, how to make hospital corners on a bed, and how to take a one minute shower. These are all things well worth knowing, but one thing the Army taught me that couldn’t be learned anywhere else, was how to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. It doesn’t seem too hard, you get out the same way you got on, through the door. Though at very different speeds. Attending the Army’s airborne school in Ft. Benning, Georgia was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but I didn’t join the Army to not push myself.
Week one of the Basic Army Airborne Course is what is known as ground week. We spent twelve hours a day for five days straight hurling ourselves at the ground. The instructors called it a “parachute landing fall” or PLF for short, we called it throwing ourselves into a gravel pit. By the end of each day we looked like a bunch of coal miners, covered in ash and dirt from head to toe. But I suppose if anything it did teach us not to be afraid of hitting the ground, it’s going to happen regardless so you might as well have experience with it. Surprisingly there were some people who couldn’t comprehend the concept of falling, they were dropped from the course and sent home.
Week two is referred to as tower week. We were led to a field that was completely empty but for five, thirty-four foot high towers which were made to look like the back end of a C-130 (a military cargo plane). During this phase the instructors taught us how to exit an aircraft, properly. This was also the week that weeded out everyone who had a fear of heights. There wasn’t much to it other than jumping out of a door and keeping your feet and knees together, the instructors told us as long as we could manage that, we would be fine.
The third and final week is called jump week. This was the culmination week where we combined what we had learned so far, hitting the...
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