One thing I can say for sure is I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for in this world. Two of these friends have inspired me to do great things with my life. One friend, Bridget, inspired me to join the Air Force. I wasn’t interested in joining at all! Until one day she approached me and said we should go to the recruiter’s office in Quincy, Illinois to see what it’s all about. Needless to say, I joined and couldn’t be happier with that decision. I’ve learned so much, have met tons of wonderful people, and have been around the world. Thank you so much Bridget; you rock.
In April of 2012 I had just returned from my deployment in Afghanistan. To make a long story short, I did not have a good deployment and was very sad with my life at that particular point. My friend, Walter, lifted me up and suggested we get certified in skydiving together. “What?! Are you serious”? These are the thoughts that ran through my head. My first jump was a tandem jump (when you’re attached to someone else), and I loved it. It happened so quickly that I wanted to go again! This is when I decided to go through the course with Walter. Click here to see my tandem jump.
I talked to my boss at work and arranged it to where I would be able to make the two-day course required to start my static line jumps. At first, it was a little difficult to understand our German instructor, only because I needed to get used to the accent. After I got used to it, it was smooth sailing. Walter and I made it through the course and began our static line jumps. For those of you that don’t know what “static line” jumps are, it’s when your rig (parachute) is tied to the airplane and the plane pulls your chute for you.
The weekend finally arrived and it was the day we got to do our first solo static line jump. Talk about nervous!!! The instructors attached radios to our rig so they could instruct us on our turns and movements in our decent, as well as landing. When we arrived to the correct altitude, we stepped out on the wheel well of the plane, ran our hands along the strut, and hung there until instructed to release. So nerve racking, yet so fun.
After six static lines we were able to begin training on pulling our own parachute. I forget exactly how many jumps you had to have free falling on your own, but I spent almost every weekend of my summer training and jumping. I had a blast.
I even took a vacation with the jumping club to Borkum, a small island off the northwest coast of Germany. We spent a week there with another skydiving club, jump, jump, jumping! There was probably over 200 people there and I was the only American. It was quite the experience.
My Mom and sister, Kelsey, came to visit me in Germany and my sister jumped with me! I was very excited to have this once in a lifetime experience. We even had a camera guy. But, guess what? He forgot to hit record! You can only imagine upset we were. Regardless, we both had fun. Well, at least I hope she did!
By the end of the summer I did all my qualifying jumps, jumped a total of 40 times out of four different aircraft. It was quite the accomplishment and I was very proud of myself for finishing. Thank you Walter and to everyone else who pushed me through!