The humming of the 4 roaring engines is loud. The plane is still on the Tarmac (runway). To the right and left of you is a guy with this heavy ass parachute on his back and a bulky reserve on the front. Luckily today wasn’t a combat equipment jump, so you have a little knee room. This C-130 packed tight with 64 Highly Motivated Combat Ready Troopers Ready to Jump! The reason why we are still on the runway is because they are trying to wait for the winds on the drop zone to die down. You look at the Primary and Assistant Jumpmaster and they say the winds on the drop-zone are 20 knots, then 2 minutes later the Airborne Commander says they have died down to 5 knots. Bullshit and you know it, everybody knows it, but fuck it. The jump is a Go. Engines of the C-130 are spinning faster and faster, all of a sudden you get thrust towards the ass end of the plane. The plane takes flight. During the pre-jump brief, the brief was to hit the Time On Target (TOT) conduct racetracks for any jumper that didn’t get out before the RED Light, then land load up another chalk of troopers and do it over again until everyone had a chance to jump. There’s only one problem, we’re in Germany, it’s snowing, visibility is .5 mile, and the Aircraft doesn’t have the Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System (AWADS). You patiently sit there and wait for a break in the weather. Everyone that has been Airborne for a day or two and has jumped in Germany knows it could go 1 or 2 ways, it could clear up and the jump happens or the jump is scratched. If the jump is scratched everything has to be put back into storing configuration to be taken back to the Parachute Riggers for storage. The Forecast from the mighty Air Force guys are speaking to the Airborne Commander telling him that there is going to be a break in the weather so the jump will go as planned with a few adjustments of the TOT and also depends on how much fuel is on the aircraft and also the Air Forces strict policy of crew rest.
The 2 C-130’s on the tarmac are ready for take off. As soon as they get the all clear from the tower and permission to take off it’s on!! The Air Control Tower finally gives the all clear and permission for departure and the 2 aircrafts finally get airborne. Cruising altitude for this jump is going to be 1200ft (Above Ground Level (AGL). Flight time to the drop-zone is approximately 40 minutes so, roughly you have a chance to take a 20 minute nap or do what paratroopers while in flight. Just as you’re comfortable, All of a sudden you hear the Primary and Assistant Jumpmasters issue the “20 Minutes” warning. At this point it’s time to wake the fuck up, because shit is about to get real. You unbuckle your seatbelt and try to get enough space so you’re ready for the next command. The Primary and Assistant Jumpmasters issue the “10 minute” warning. Now it’s time to put your game face on, because it is about to go down.
Next Command: Outboard Personnel Stand Up/ Inboard Personnel Stand up (You stand up, secure your seat and face the aft end of the aircraft, that’s where the Jumpmasters are located)
Next Command: Hook Up (take your snap hook and secure it to the anchor line cable)
Next Command: Check Static Line (ensure you have the proper bite, holding your static line you should be able to stick 2 fingers in the loop of the bite)
Next Command: Check Equipment (ensure your Advanced Combat Helmet [ACH] is fastened and it is snug on your head; check your chest strap to make sure it is still buckled; check your reserve parachute safety pin is bent down; check your thigh straps to make sure they’re snug and still hooked and locked in place; adjust and ensure your aviators kit bag is positioned correctly; finally check the back of the ACH of the jumper in front of you to make sure there isn’t any foreign objects hanging that could possibly injure them and make sure their Neck Armor Protective Enhancement (NAPE) Pad is positioned correctly; then ensure there isn’t access static line hanging from their parachute and the cotton loop is secured and no canopy is exposed)
Next Command: Sound off for Equipment Check.
(starts from the last jumper sounding off with a loud and thunderous “OKAY” while slapping the back of the jumpers parachute in front of you and it’s repeated by every jumper as it makes its way to the 1st jumper who then sticks his hand out with all fingers extended and joined, points to the Jumpmaster and says “ALL OKAY JUMPMASTER” and the Jumpmaster then slaps the hand of the first jumper confirming that everything is okay.)
••••While this step is in progress the Jumpmaster Safety is making his way from the last jumper in the chalk ensuring all jumpers have the proper bite, the opposite hand not holding the static line is covering your rip cord on your reserve parachute, and also instructing you to make eye contact with the Jumpmaster Safety before releasing your static line.••••
Once that is complete the Jumpmaster faces the Air Force Loadmaster. The Loadmaster opens the paratroop door, locks it in place, kicks out the jump platform locks it into place, leans outside the aircraft to ensure the wind deflector is deployed, conducts a quick check of the edge of the paratroop door, leans out to ensure there are no obstructions or anomalies that would injure a jumper or halt that chalk from exiting. Once the Loadmaster has completed his required checks he then gives control of the door to the Army Jumpmaster by saying “ARMY, YOUR DOOR”.
The Jumpmaster, looks at the Safety and says, “SAFETY SECURE MY STATIC LINE”. Once the Safety has positive control of the Jumpmasters static line, the Jumpmaster rotates into the paratroop door, checks the Pip pin to ensure that the paratroop door is secure, then he traces his hand down lead edge of the door to the lock and back up, then conducts the same check on the trail edge of the door to ensure there are no sharp objects that could cut a static line or injure a jumper while the jumper exits the aircraft. He then kicks lock on the lead edge of the jump platform to ensure its locked on place and does the same on the trail edge lock. After checking the trail edge lock on the jump platform he firmly places his lead foot on the jump platform to ensure it is locked in place. Once he has done this, he leans slightly looking toward the lead edge of the door to ensure the wind deflector is engaged, after he confirms that the wind deflector is engaged he conducts his 1st clear to the rear, this is done by leaning outside of the aircraft. The Jumpmaster is looking for any obstructions, anomalies and for anything that looks out of place. Also conducting a 360 degree check for aircraft that may be flying too close above, below and to the rear of his aircraft. He leans back in makes eye contact with the Assistant Jumpmaster and a thumbs up is given to each other to ensure that nothing unsafe or out of the ordinary was spotted that could halt the Airborne Operation.
At this point the Jumpmaster is looking for the 1 minute reference point on the ground. Once the 1 minute reference point is found, they make eye contact and give a thumbs up acknowledging they found the 1 minute reference point then issue the “1 minute warning”. Now the Jumpmaster is looking for the 30 second reference point. Once the 30 second reference point is found, he makes eye contact with the Assistant Jumpmaster and a thumbs up is given acknowledging the 30 second reference point is found then they issue the “30 second warning”. After the 30 second warning is given the Jumpmasters conduct the final clear to the rear looking for any obstructions, anomalies and conducts the last 360 degree looking for any aircraft following to close above, below and to the rear of their aircraft. He is also looking for the lead edge of the drop zone. Once the 360 degree check is done and both Jumpmasters identify the lead edge of the drop zone, they return to the inside of the aircraft make eye contact and a thumbs up is given, the Jumpmasters issue the last command “STAND BY”.
The first jumper rotates into the door awaiting the greenlight and a strong pat on the back from the Jumpmaster. Greenlight comes on, The Primary Jumpmaster gives the command of GO. After the Primary Jumpmaster let’s his first jumper exit the Assistant Jumpmaster gives his 1st jumper the command “GO”. This done to have a 1 to 2 second interval between exits on both doors. When a jumper exits the aircraft he counts: 1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand, 4 thousand. At the end of the 4 thousand count, the jumper checks his canopy and gain canopy control, next the jumper checks to ensure there are no huge wholes or gores in the canopy. The jumper is to lookout for fellow jumpers, if jumpers get too close they are to pull the appropriate set of risers and slip away.
At approximately 200ft above the ground the jumper is to prepare to land. Depending on wind direction the jumper will pull the appropriate set of risers and prepare to land, by keeping feet and knees together and chin on chest and pray. Once all paratroopers have exited the aircraft the Primary Jumpmaster is the last one to exit. Once you hit the ground, check to make sure everything is still working, pack up your chute go to the chute turn-in point and get on the bus to sleep for the 4 hour trip back to good ol’ CONN Barracks!