Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annual Training

I don't post much about my time as a weekend warrior.  There's not much "stoke" that comes about when you have to miss hanging out with the Shrink, missing a big powder day, or not running a new river with the crew.

But this year it wasn't too bad.  I got to hang out with fellow adventurer Marc Hoffmeister (AKA Arctic Sapper 06) and many other good folks in the 6th Engineer Battalion and Alaska Army National Guard.  Besides lots of good training, tasty Army food, lost sleep and 2 ascents of Donnelly Dome - I got to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

It had been nearly 6 years since my last jump.  I won't say that I wasn't nervous....but still have to keep your feet and knees together!

This is the pregame.  We are tailgating while we wait for our limo - a C-17 Globemaster III.
This is what a can of whoop ass looks like.  60 combat-equipped Paratroopers ready to place their weapon in operation and move out to the objective.

After a quick 45 minute flight, the Jumpmasters gave us the commands and we were ready to exit.  I was the first jumper on the second pass - so I got some time in the door to enjoy the magnificent view of Denali, Hunter and Foraker while waiting for the lime light.  And the safety signaled wind at 0 knots, can't get any better than that!

Meg was gracious enough to view the airborne op and take pictures from atop Skyline Drive with perfect views of Malemute Drop Zone.

The birds on final approach. (Denali and Hunter)
 Green Light, GO! (Mount Susitna "The Sleeping Lady" in the background)
It was great to get back on the horse with some absolutely fantastic Soldiers from the 6th Engineer Battalion.  I even had a nice landing in the soft grass and muskeg of the DZ.

All I need is 20 more to be a Master rated Parachutist!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes that was hanging in our chow hall in Kuwait in 2003 when I was with the 82nd:

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell