Jul 23, 2008, 7:19 AM
Post #1 of 6
Blue Skies - Nick Dewhirst - 20 July 2008
1LT Nick Dewhirst, D/2/506 IN 101st ABN was killed in combat on Sunday in Afghanistan. I didn't know him well, but knew he was a jumper with several hundred jumps and was hoping he'd be jumping with us (the team) from time to time when he got back.
He was from Wisconsin, and I'm not sure if he had a home DZ up there.
Jul 25, 2008, 9:21 AM
Post #3 of 6
Re: [Gawain] Blue Skies - Nick Dewhirst - 20 July 2008
[In reply to]
Nick was a childhood friend of mine, fellow Boy Scout, and high school classmate. It was only after his death that I learned of his skydiving passion. I wish I could have jumped with him at least once, but he will be in my heart on every jump I make in the future.
In 2003 Nick applied and was accepted to West Point military academy, after failing acceptance into the Naval Academy in Arlington, VA due to mild colorblindness . While there, he discovered a passion for skydiving and joined an elite skydiving team (the Black Knights) that took only 10 members from each class at the academy. His final year at West Point he was the cadet in charge of the parachute team.
His parents saw one of his 1,000-plus jumps when they went to West Point to see a football game and watched him land on the field, and another notable jump landed him on the field at Shea Stadium. He also trained and jumped with the Golden Knights, the Army’s elite parachute team.
He also took up BASE jumping. His parents were more concerned about the danger of BASE jumping than they were about his military duties.
Nick also garnished numerous awards in competition.
2002 National Skydiving Championships 2nd Freefall Style & Accuracy Landing Overall (Intermediate Division) 2003 Collegiate Championships 3rd in Style (Novice Division) 2004 Collegiate Chapi8onships 3rd in Team Accuracy 1st in Freefall Style (intermediate Division) 2005 Lew Stanbord Accuracy Meet 2nd Overall (Intermediate Division)
and as far as I knew, his home DZ was either jumping at West Point, or with the screaming Eagles at Fort Campbell, KY.
(This post was edited by wisconsingod on Jul 25, 2008, 9:24 AM)
Aug 2, 2008, 5:19 PM
Post #5 of 6
Re: [Para_Frog] Blue Skies - Nick Dewhirst - 20 July 2008
[In reply to]
On Friday, August 1 at 0815, a UH-1H helicopter landed on the North Dock heliport at West Point, and seven skydivers boarded, two of Nick's former parachute team coaches at West Point, a videographer, and four cadets--seniors who remember Nick as the team Captain in 2005. They lifted off the helipad that sat with the Hudson River on three sides, and flew low and fast up the river with the sun coming over the mountains to the east. In 15 min. they were at 10K over West Point, and the two coaches carried off a two way with a small black bag gripped between them. In a few seconds the four cadets, each with a double boot bracket of military red smoke, formed a no grips diamond formation next to the two way. At 6000 ft, the bag opened and a small puff of white disappeared into the air somewhere over the Hudson Valley. Black and gold parachutes spiralled down toward the historic parade ground on West Point known simply as The Plain. Seven standup landings in front of the general's review stand were greeted with applause. Each skydiver shook hands with Nick's father and hugged his mom, and then formally presented a baton passed on this, Nick's last skydive. The baton was crafted from the oak bedposts taken when the Army razed the old Airborne barracks at Ft. Bragg. As they finished the presentation, the UH-1H executed a farewell flyby. About an hour later in the West Point cemetery, a crowd gathered by the burial site, and the ground trembled slightly as about 40 motorcyle mounted Patriot Guards idled through the cemetery, leading the hearse. Nick's family, having just received his posthumous medals in a private ceremony, walked with the Commandant to chairs at grave side, less than 100 yards from Custer's grave. The Patriot Guards stood at respectful attention with full size American flags on staffs, while a military funeral detail in Army Dress Blue executed a flawless ceremony with full military honors, including the rifle salute and taps. More than a dozen Lieutenants and Captains from the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Divisions, most former West Point skydivers and all friends of Nick, stood by in solemn respect. There was not a dry eye among the 200 plus attendees, who listened to the colors flap on a perfect August morning. Thanks for the jump, Nick. God speed, and blue skies.
(This post was edited by inextremis on Aug 2, 2008, 7:13 PM)