News: Paratrooper’s long wait for number six
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Andy Yoshimura
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – -A “Five-Jump Chump” is a term often used when a paratrooper only performs the required five jumps during the U.S. Airborne School and does not participate in any airborne operation after graduation.
Maj. Hope Gooch, an Army Reserve logistics officer for the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade, was called that for 23 years until she finally had her sixth jump on April 17, 2013.
“Finally, I have the opportunity to have all the fun that was promised to me when you get into the Army,” said Gooch.
As a cadet and a freshman at the University of Houston, Gooch attended the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., in July of 1989. After graduation, Gooch received her commission in the U.S. Army with Air Defense as her basic branch. In 1992, she was assigned to a PATRIOT unit in Germany, a non-airborne unit. After nearly five years of active duty, and five more years in the Individual Ready Reserve, Gooch entered the Army Reserve as a logistics officer and was assigned to non-airborne units.
In July 2012, Gooch was assigned to the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade out of Fort Jackson, S.C., an airborne unit. As 20 years of total service approached, instead of thinking retirement, Gooch was thinking of something else.
“As luck would have it, there is this position. I knew it was an airborne unit,” said Gooch. “My supervisor came up and said that I can benefit from this.”
As a 23-year veteran of the “Five-Jump Chump” club, Gooch had the opportunity to jump with German jumpmasters on a German C-160 aircraft during Operation Federal Eagle onto Nijmegen Drop Zone.
Under German commands from the jump master, Gooch exited the aircraft and landed her with German wings.
“Something I did remember is when I jumped out it is so serene and quiet and pretty. And it gave me the chance to thank the good lord for the opportunity and be able to see something from a different perspective,” added Gooch.