My well seemed to have run dry as far as topics for writing is concerned so I thought I would turn to wordpress for inspiration. They wanted to know what the most harrowing , adrenaline filled moment of my life was. That is really a tough one because I am an adrenaline junkie.
Probably one that stands out above the rest was my first jump from an airplane. I had joined the military at the age of eighteen and wanted to be a paratrooper. So after my boot camp and advanced training I went Ft. Benning , Georgia.
At the beginning of the school there were two hundred and sixty five soldiers trying to earn the coveted wings and beret. Three weeks later only forty three troopers were pinned and three of them were women.
This is not like a civilian “jump class” which can be taught in eight hours. This was three weeks of the most brutal physical and psychological conditioning that you can imagine. I don’t know what crawling through a pit filled with dry sawdust when you are covered with sweat has to do with falling out of an airplane but every morning began that way.
There was a bell that hung on the porch of the white house where headquarters was located. All you had to do to end the misery was run up and ring that bell. It seemed to ring nonstop for the first week.
I went through four roommates in three weeks. The reason for this type of conditioning was to train you to follow a command without hesitation. To not even think about what you are doing but to just do it.
I heard stories that certain elite forces of Hitlers army were trained this same way. Actually what I heard was that they were given a puppy to raise when they began their training. The dog was a constant companion to these soldiers. They slept with them , ate with them and trained with them. After about a year of training and raising the dogs , one morning in formation , they were given the order in a nonchalant manner to execute their dogs. Those that hesitated did not pass.
This was the type of response our cadre was looking to instill in us and it was perfectly understandable. You do not want to have a discussion with a scared paratrooper flying several thousand feet off the ground with the door open.
My first , as well as all my subsequent jumps , went off without a hitch. But let me tell you that when that parachute opens and you realize you are not going to die just yet and you hang suspended several thousand feet above the ground by canvas and nylon , the adrenaline starts pumping. Up until that point you have simply followed commands without thinking about the consequences.
But when you are suspended in the air and there is no sound except your own breathing and heartbeat you are alive. More so than you ever were before and most likely ever will be again.