March 1, 2021

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Night Jump Savannah

2 min read

I had a few opportunities to use my Jump Master skills while stationed in Savannah; conducting parachute operations with our Air Delivery Platoon.

One night we were conducting Airborne Operations from Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters into a small civilian airport East of Savannah. SSgt Swift was the Primary JM for my aircraft and I was the AJ (Assistant Jump Master). I was the last jumper to exit, before SSgt Swift.

We released late and all had to run for the DZ (Drop Zone). Running with a parachute means to aim it where you want to go and drive, using your toggles, to steer your way in to the DZ.

It was extremely dark out and I almost killed myself three times in a matter of seconds.

First, I ran into power lines (very high) and then after I fought through them, I almost slammed into a civilian airplane and finally I was running with the wind on an MC1-1 steerable parachute, trying to get to the X and I could not see the ground.

I could not turn my chute for a backward PLF (Parachute Landing Fall) so I drove into the ground at about 15 knots; hitting and rolling – and pissed off like crazy. A Front PLF on an MC1-1C, while flying with the wind, puts the jumpers speed at 8 knots plus the winds speed.

The moral of the story: Do Not make front PLFs with a MC1-1C Chute; they hurt.

Photo: Jump Masters on the ramp of a MC-130 1990s Okinawa Japan; Air Force Loadmaster enjoying the view.

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