As I started going through some unpacked boxes this week (yes, I know we've lived here for five years), I stumbled on an article my college roommate/fraternity brother Paul Jarvis and I wrote for the "Greek Gazette" section of the Tufts Daily chronicling our experience.
Dated December 7, 1989, the article on yellowed newsprint is actually pretty funny. You get a sense of what we went through to earn our Airborne Wings but more amusing to me is the hint of Young Turk-like arrogance and the wry tweaking of the whole system.
This doesn't really qualify as an archival discovery of great worth but it was fun to come across this piece of my past and to think about a memorable three weeks spent in the sweltering Georgia heat a generation ago.
Delts go Airborne
By Tim Schenck and Paul Jarvis
Until you've stood in the door of a C-130 aircraft at 1250 ft. and thrown your body out into the wild
As Army ROTC cadets, both of us were fortunate enough to have a chance to attend Airborne training at lovely and scenic Ft. Benning, Georgia. And, we like to think that we've started a new trend at the Delt House. Beginning with DTD alumnus Lieutenant Jon Lidz ('86), we are the second and third Brothers to put our knees to the breeze and qualify as U.S. paratroopers.
As with most giant bureaucracies, the Army divides its training into distinct phases. At Airborne, the first week is known as Ground Week. The toughest week of training, Ground Week teaches the aspiring paratrooper how to properly execute a PLF, or parachute landing fall for you civilians. In addition, students learn the correct method of exiting an aircraft through training on the infamous 34-foot tower. Training on this apparatus allows students to confront their fear of height for the first time. After mastering exits and the PLF, cranking out thousands of pushups, and enduring verbal abuse from the caring Airborne instructors, you are ready to advance to Tower Week.
Finally, Jump Week arrives. The only thing standing between you and the coveted Airborne Wings are five qualifying jumps from a C-130 or C-141 type aircraft (while in flight). You never forget your first jumps. Though impossible to describe the feeling, we'll do it anyway.
Close your eyes and imagine the inside of an aircraft. Remember, this is a military flight -- no stewardesses, movies, or complementary beverages (though a barf bag is provided). Now, listen to the engines roar. You can barely hear yourself think; the noise is deafening. The jumpmaster motions for your group to stand up.
Suddenly, reality hits you. You are about to willingly fling yourself out of a moving aircraft. Are you crazy? Don't answer that one.
You see the red light turn to green. As you shuffle to the door, there seem to be fewer people on the aircraft than originally boarded. The person in front of you disappears and…
It takes about 4 seconds between the time you exit the aircraft and the time it takes your parachute to
Airborne School was definitely an experience. You do more pushups, get yelled at more often, clean more more barracks, and shine more boots than anywhere in the free world. If you ever want to hear some Airborne war stories, we have plenty of them. So stop by, you know where to find us. AIRBORNE!