Deployment Drop

2nd Lt. Katy Moffett wrote:  This was at Pope Air Force Base/Fort Bragg while I was on Operations Air Force through the Air Force Academy in Summer 2008.

Katy watching static jumps

We were on site with a bunch of Air Battle Managers during an Army Deployment Drop, watching the operation happen. We were just observing the static jumps, so I can only imagine the difficulty involved in attempting to steer their canopies to a safe landing spot with the ground littered with previous jumpers. It was pretty amazing seeing between 25 and 50 airplanes drop 1,000 personnel within 20 minutes. The casualty rate was a staggering 20-25%, and there were easily 30 ambulances waiting on call. As we watched, we witnessed two guys get tangled in one another because they jumped so close next to each other and plummet towards the ground at a disturbing rate. At the last minute, about 10 seconds before they hit the ground, the two finally separated and the streamer canopy opened up a little more. Needless to say, the landing looked painful, but luckily no one died on that drop. A little Army aviation, rather than Air Force, but since I don’t start flying until December, it’s all for now.  :  )

  1. Amazing, I’ve lived on and around Air Force bases all my life, but I never thought about the number of injuries that occur with such a large drop. Although I should, because during WWII my father had a very short stint as an Army jumper; he broke his back on his night jump, getting tangled in a tree. He recovered from the injury and then they sent him into the Battle of the Bulge as infantry! Go figure. He later joined the Air Force as soon as it became a separate entity from the Army Air Corp. Great story, I’d love to hear more from you. Also, Sandy, your website and blog are great, love Scott’s story about emergencies on board. Mia Crews

    1. I’m amazed at how many stories my dad has to tell about flying that I’ve never heard. The good old days weren’t so great sometimes, but those old pilots really did often fly by the seat of their pants. I can’t imagine being an Army jumper back in the war. We see those pictures on tv of the large drops, but rarely wonder how many fatalities/injuries they suffered in the mere exercise of reaching the ground.

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