Wednesday, August 17, 2011
i'll start where it all began so to speak. as a senior in high school, i decided to enlist in the early enlistment program. i.e. you enlist, when you graduate, uncle Sam already owns you. kind of takes the guess work out of what to do after you graduate, and cannot afford college. So while a senior in high school, the recruiter takes me and several other boys to Ft. Benning Ga. (Home of the Infantry) where i would complete Basic Training, AIT, and then Airborne. He showed us a nice apartment looking barracks complex know has Sand Hill, or (Sand Hilton). I thought yeah this modern Army is for me. Now when i arrived approximately 4 months Later and arrived at Harmony Church (old WWII barracks) i was sure they had delivered me to the WRONG PLACE! Now my drill instructor explained <Grin> that i was indeed in the right place. I found there was a hell, and it was located in Georgia. anyway, soon three of us recruits all headed for the Ranger Battalion, became close friends. insomuch that any time one was in trouble or did something stupid, the other two ended up doing pushups as well as the offender. After a while we were the most "in shape" recruits in the platoon. Me, Riordan, and Torres. life was never, EVER dull with us three. always some kind of crap going on. (more on that later, today we are talking about being Airborne. Well the three of us, graduated Basic, and AIT. and went on to Airborne school, also at Ft Benning Ga. Zero week, ground week, tower week, and finally we get to try our skills out at 3000 feet. woo hooo yeah HARD CORE! well there we are in the back of a C130 transport, all chuted up, waiting to arrive somewhere above the drop zone. all the hard core troops, are as silent as church mice........ Finally the Jump Master leans out the door and gives us the commands to stand up, Hook up, Face the door, Equipment check, and ready to roll. (now here i have ommited a most important portion of this story). good story tellers sometimes do this. But 20 minutes back, while sitting in this plane, rocking all over the place, the plane sounding like its gonna stop flying at any moment. Torres look at me and Riordan, and as quietly as could be and still be heard, "I AINT JUMPING!" me and riordan said WHAT??? he said the Army screws everything up. these chutes probably won't open. and folks, at 3000 feet, you don't want to have to guess .. was it a sgt, or a PVT that packed my chute... so fast foward, there we are standing and now moving foward to the door, the troops already jumping one by one. Torres, the one in front of the line of the three of us, starts screaming and shouting , NO NO NIOOOOOO i ain't going..My heart just about dropped to my knees. The jump master unhooks him throws him up against the bulkhead, starts screaming at him, cussing him, calling him a GD Commie, and all sorts of names that question your manhood. He looked at me, and screamed what the hell you waitin on get the hell off my aircraft. Before i had a chance to think what was worse, the jump master, or hitting the ground without my chute opening. .... i jumped! and that is how i became AIRBORNE. Not from bravery, but being more scared of the jumpmaster, than the ground below.. Riordan, and i made it through Jump school, and the Rangers, and torres had to do the walk of shame, and failed jump school. i never saw Torres again. so heres to you buddy. I hope your life, and heart has been full! <cheers>.