Aside from combat, I am most often asked about my experiences as a paratrooper. To become Airborne qualified (jump wings) you must first attend, and pass Airborne school at Fort Benning, GA. I attended this course directly after Basic/AIT training. However, there were many people in my class that had been in the military for a number of years and received this training as a re-enlistment bonus, or because they needed it as a prerequisite to attend other training.

Airborne is a three-week course that is broken into three sections: ground week, tower week, and jump week. Ground week consisted of PT, a PT test, learning the PLF (parachute land fall), understanding operations inside a mock aircraft, and the 30ft tower (practicing how to exit the aircraft). Tower week continues the things learned in ground week, with the addition of: mass exit, harness training (you are suspended in a harness to simulate what it will feel like while airborne), and finally the 250ft tower. Due to the conditions during my course, the 250ft tower was canceled (unfortunate because I think that would have better prepared me for what landing was like).

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