News: Spartan Brigade leaders jump with Army's T-11 parachute
Story by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada
JOINT BASE ELEMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Senior leaders from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division Brigade cemented their trust in, and readiness to use, the T-11 parachute during a test jump over Malamute Drop Zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 19, 2013. The T-11, which is replacing the T-10 Delta parachute, has a larger canopy and is able to carry more weight than its predecessor.
Prior to the airborne operation, all jumpers, whether they had jumped the parachute before or not, participated in new equipment training at JBER’s Airborne Sustainment Training Area to become familiar with the parachute system and its components.
"It’s a great day to be a paratrooper here at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson," said Col. Matthew McFarlane, the commander of the Spartan Brigade. "As we work with our Air Force partners and start utilizing some new equipment that will help everyone be a little bit more capable in our mission set."
This is the first time the T-11 parachute system has been jumped at JBER by the Spartan Brigade.
"I’ve been jumping my whole career in the Army and every time when I land I do a parachute landing fall," said McFarlane.
"And I equate that to a mini explosion because you’re drifting with the wind. This slows that and will significantly reduce lower body extremity injuries and head injuries when paratroopers hit the ground hard."
When it was decided that the newer system was going to be used at JBER, the senior leaders decide to jump with the parachute before the rest of the Spartan paratroopers start to use the T-11 for airborne operations.
"We’ve got the brigade key leaders out here and the parachute riggers who pack these parachutes to demonstrate to the entire force how safe these new parachutes are and how much confidence we have in them," said the Spartan commander. "This new parachute is safer by all accounts."
All jumpers must be certified to jump the T-11 before they are allowed to jump with it and jumpmaster-trained paratroopers attended a weeklong, T-11-specific jumpmaster course before they were T-11 certified.
Prior to this jump, not only did the paratroopers and jumpmasters receive training, but the parachute riggers and their leadership also received specialized training for the T-11.
"We received the parachutes this July," said 1st Lt. Kelsie Cabrera the rigger platoon leader for Headquarters Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), 4-25 IBCT, hailing from Petoskey, Mich.
"We’ve just been training up and starting to pack them up for people to jump here."
The training for the riggers leading up to the first T-11 jump consisted of a team of trainers from Fort Lee, Va. spending nine days training the Spartan Brigades 80 riggers on how to service and pack the T-11.
"We trained on a lot of small things, down to the last retaining band,” said Cabrera.
The major differences between the T-10 and the T-11 are that the T-11 allows more weight to be carried by the paratrooper and is able to handle a load capacity of more than 400 pounds to accommodate today's paratrooper and their equipment load.
The new parachute is cruciform in shape, as opposed to a circle, like its predecessor, with a larger surface area and diameter. The T-11’s design aids in slowing the rate of descent from 22 feet per second to 19 feet, which significantly lowers the possibility of jump-related injuries.