A Tremendous Loss:

A 38-year-old Air Force pararescueman was killed Sunday during a recreational skydive south of Hollister when his chute experienced a failure, according to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.

Nathan Schmidt, whom law enforcement officials say lived in Santa Cruz and was stationed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, was pronounced dead on scene when he landed without his chute deploying in the Stonegate neighborhood south of Ridgemark and north of Tres Pinos off Airline Highway, Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Taylor told BenitoLink.

Schmidt, who apparently packed his own chute, was a member of the U.S. Air Force 131st Rescue Squadron, for which he was a highly-trained jumper.


Nathan was stationed with me at my last duty station, which was a reserve pararescue unit. In the reserves, PJ students don’t stay at Kirtland Air Force Base while awaiting their next school. They go back to the reserve unit, instead. It’s a pretty good deal for the students, because instead of sitting around doing PT, they get to do any training they’ve qualified to do in their pipeline progression.


So if it was a jump or dive, the students were in on the jump or dive. Weapons, medicine, you name it. If they were qualified to do, they did it.