News: Tailgating in the sky Paratroopers jump for joy
Story by Spc. Cody Thompson
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -Paratroopers jumped from the tailgates of two C-130 Hercules airplanes during the XVIII Airborne Corps Commanding General’s Retention Incentive Jump on Fort Bragg, Friday, June 25.
The tailgate jump was used as a reward for reenlisting, said Sgt. Maj. Mark Mayo, the senior retention non-commissioned officer for the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The paratroopers used MC1-1D parachutes in the jump, which enable them to control their movements better.
A tailgate jump is considered a rarity amongst the parachuting community on Fort Bragg because jumps usually are from the side of the aircraft due to operations tempo. The Air Force’s 19th AirWing from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. provided the C-130s used during the jump.
The Korean War-era aircrafts allowed about 400 paratroopers to jump. Seasoned jumpmasters lead the paratroopers through the jump and ensure their safety.
“When [G3 Air] told me that they didn’t have enough quality jumpmasters, I jumped at the chance to help,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Sanders, the senior interrogator with the XVIII Airborne Corps.
“I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Army cannot do without the Airborne Corps.” “This is the best job in the world,” said Staff Sgt.Timothy W. Jeffrey, a career counselor with the 82nd Airborne Division, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “We get paid to jump out of planes.”
After the jump, Sanders was awarded master parachutist wings for completing 65 jumps.“This jump was all about showing the Soldiers you care,” said Sanders. “What makes this jump special is because with everything going on, these Soldiers agree to stay Army and be Airborne.”