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Hello everyone!

I made my first jump on March 8, 1970, from a Cherokee 6 over the tiny town of Welsh, Louisiana (right off I-10 and a few miles east of Lake Charles). I was a college kid but managed to scrape together the $25 jump school fee and yes, we had to pack the rig we jumped.

My next jump was in mid 1971 at Elmdale Paracenter, Abilene, Texas, from a Cessna 195...yes, the big boy with the Jacobs radial engine. Louie Sparks put me out at 3000 feet on the dope rope. I was in the USAF at the time, stationed at Dyess AFB.

On the 4th of July, '71, I was the wind dummy for the "Lowake Drop In" at famed Lowake Steak Inn, which had its own airstrip at the time, and made 2 jumps on static line from a Cessna 180. We had to pack our parachutes between jumps, of course, but the jumps were free and the dinner at the end of the day was unforgettable!

After 3 DRCPs, I was going through 10 second delays but was shipped to Tainan Air Station, Taiwan, where I managed to make a few jumps from a C-46 with the Chinese Army Airborne at their Ping Tung base. My last landing was memorable; a wind shift got me atop a building, where the wind dragged me off before I could get my Capewells released, and I dropped two stories to the concrete below, where I landed so hard I split my steel helmet. But it was a FREE jump, and I earned my Chinese Jump wings.

Later, I was transferred to RAF Lakenheath, England, where I joined the British Parachute Association and ate some blast over Peterborough. Lovely country and great people, too!

After getting out of the service, I found a DZ in Covington, Louisiana, called Southern Parachute Center. At the time, I lived just outside New Orleans, so going across the Lake was no big deal. I went over one Saturday to sign up for a refresher jump course and saw a Twin Beech dropping a stick of SL students all over the area...looked like a military exercise with all those T-10s and chopped C-9s. No more jumps that day, they were shutting down the operation!

Next weekend, I discovered that Jim West of Greene County Sport Parachute Centers had taken over the operation and they invited me up for a ride, and I became their first student...was this in late '74? Dunno, my logbook was destroyed in Katrina.

Along the way, I acquired a brand-new RWB Mini-System from the Chute Shop fitted to a brand-new Competition Para-Commander and a 26-foot Lopo reserve...everything was red, white, and blue, except the solid red cotton sleeve .

Now I am slowly acquiring my gear again, and plan on taking the AFF course at Gold Coast Skydivers in Lumberton, Mississippi.

Hope to see some of you guys along the way!

...the ground...
James S. Prine

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Gold Coast is where I started my AFF! Depending on when you go back to do AFF, you might see me. I'll be home from Afghanistan in about a week, and I'll be at the DZ for their Wounded Warrior Project Boogie from July 22-24! It would be great to see you! You should be able to find me pretty easily... Look at my pic :D

In freefall, you have the rest of your life to figure out what's wrong. -Joe, AFF Instructor

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