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bloody_trauma

military parachute clubs

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I got my A license from the Ft. Campbell sport parachute club and let me just tell you how horrible it was. First off you had monthly dues you had to pay, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 bucks a month. Then there was the gear rental which cost about 25 bucks for the whole weekend, but thats not even the worst part of it. The worst part was i had to learn how to skydive out of a black hawk helicopter (sometimes a chinook), and they made me pay 2 dollars for the whole day of jumping out of military aircraft that took almost 8 min to get to 14000 ft... Ohhhh the humanity...... :P:P:P:P:P:P

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Military clubs were great in my military daze. $10 bucks a month dues, $1 a day for the pilots' chow/beer and no charge for gear rental!

'82 Ft. Lewis, 83-85 Ft. Bragg (which had 3 clubs plus Raeford on weekdays)

Mostly gone except for demo teams as far as I know.
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I'm back in the USA!!

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The first records I had showed that the Army had many Sport Parachute Activities started in 1958. From those clubs many Instalations had weekend/part time Demonstration Jumpers ("All Americans" of the 82nd ABN, "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st ABN, the "Silver Wings" of the ABN Dept. etc). Then the Army's STRAC (Startegic Airborne Command) formed a Demo Team as "Full Timers" and they had some success and then they got a new name in 1961, and a nick name in '62 [(?) is that right slotperfect?], today we still call them the "Golden Knights".

MWR (who ran all the Clubs) is not funded in the same manner as the DoD and runs on NAF (Non-Appropriated Funds). Basically MWR must make money at what it does or lose the activity.

For the Army the Reg's support the formation of a Club to Skydive at. The intalations Aviation Command needs to support it as well. Clubs tend to be busy on weekends and that is the days the Aviation Command would like to be off. The other part is if the Club is not making money from its clients (DoD ID Card holders) due to deployments etc, it can not pay for a Manager or equipment ect.

The last club to go away for the Army was at Fort Bragg, and it went through several evolutionary changes in order to keep it alive for a while.

If you want more info just ask, but it would have to be a Global Political change to get the clubs open again I do fear.
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

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BUMP!

Anyone know what became of this effort? It looks like it was not successful :( But I'd like to get any details available. There may be an opportunity available for me to get things moving on the USMC side of the house. I'd like to pull as much info as possible from those that have already done this before I put my ass in the breeze on this :D Thanks.
D
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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As stated above, with the geo political climate the way it is its going to be a tough sell. Some bases have a hard time operating the base pools, movie theaters and bowling alleys.

My only idea would be to start off with a sort of grass roots type thing. You wouldnt have a club per se, but you could work on getting a NOTAM to do drops on the base on a sunday afternoon and see if MWR would subsidize super cheap lift tickets for active duty personnel, or you could get a military aircraft or military contracted aircraft to come out and do x amount of drops etc.
If you did that once a month or so and the turn out was good on a regular basis then its just building on top of that.
I suspect its a pipe dream though.

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There may be an opportunity available for me to get things moving on the USMC side of the house.



Where are you? Years ago, there were clubs at both Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune, and we were pretty active.

Cherry Point Skydivers had nearly everything stolen along about 1981 or 1982, but I think the club held on for a while after that. Not sure when they went away.

If you happen across any pictures from either club, I'd be MORE THAN INTERESTED in seeing them!

Semper Fi!
I'm a jumper. Even though I don't always have money for jumps, and may not ever own a rig again, I'll always be a jumper.

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Don't know about military parachute clubs but I do know that military flying clubs were having a harder time of doing business. I worked at the Quantico Flying Club in high school and as I was transitioning to college the airfield kicked the club off to resurface the runway (designed for C-130s but they started landing C-17s on it which shortened the lifespan).

The club moved south to Stafford, VA which was conveniently outside the ADIZ but it was a longer drive for all of the club's members. The temporary move turned into a permanent move when the airfield wouldn't allow the club to move back on-base. Last I checked, the club had closed down because it's user base didn't want to drive an hour and a half.

I don't know if that's the case all over the country, but when I was working at the club the word on the street was most military flying clubs were running into similar issues.

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Yep, pretty much the same story anywhere you look. I was a member of the Cherry Point aero club in the late '70's and early '80's, it's long gone now. Later, I was a member at the Moody AFB aero club, and it was shut down over an alleged loss of money one month, while we still had $9000+++ in the bank! NAF took OUR $9000 and gave half of it to the Officers' Club and half to the Enlisted Club. That money had come from $3 per flight hour and was set aside for airplane repairs when necessary. Always felt it was stolen from us and even the Inspector General wouldn't listen, all he would say was "I can't do anything for you."

Later, I was at Cannon AFB, found "aero club" listed on maps, tried to find it and instead, found that it had been closed a couple of years earlier.

Apparently no wing commander (Air Force) or CG (Marine Corps) wants to be responsible for any flying other than military, so they find "some way" to close them when they can. About the only bases that I know still have aero clubs are those with a HUGE civilian population -- like Warner Robbins, I think theirs is still open.
I'm a jumper. Even though I don't always have money for jumps, and may not ever own a rig again, I'll always be a jumper.

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I know the creation/expansion of the ADIZ around DC following 9/11 really didn't help small/sport GA.

It was a great job working for that club though. Learned a lot, got to hang out on a sweet airfield, and watched the Marine IFS try and learn how to fly.

EDIT: For nostalgia's sake I just looked it up. Turner Field, Quantico VA. If you look on the east side you can see a curved access road. The fire station is the large building and next to it there's what was two taxiways and the parking ramps for the aircraft. Looks like they tore down the quonset huts and fuel tanks but kept the hanger. You can even see the yellow half-circle which denoted the grounding requirement during fueling. :(

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I took flying lessons at the Quantico club '81-'82 when I was in high school. Got as far as soloing, but never got my license before I went off to USMA. It was a great deal and good club. Got my start skydiving at the Fort Campbell club in '88. Another good deal now gone.

The only Army flying club I am aware of still around is at Fort Leavenworth, KS. As discussed above, all of the parachute clubs are gone.

Morale and Recreation Activities have been on the decline in the Army for many years. The Officer and NCO clubs are almost all gone, and the high end rec activities like skydiving and scuba clubs are largely gone. Gyms, swimming pools, bowling alleys and golf courses are about all that is left and even the fees for those are higher than they once were.

What happened is that in 1988 the regs changed and all MWR activities not designated mission essential (mainly gyms - we need soldiers to stay healthy) no longer could get appropriated funds. They had to operate as businesses and make a profit to stay open. This meant that these activities now had to charge soldiers for what was once free or very inexpensive. Additionally for skydiving, even if you could get the gear paid for, you have to get the local aviation commander agree to support with lift.

Only solution I could see would be for an installation MWR to enter into a partnership with a commercial DZ like some college clubs do, or for the exisiting demo teams to expand their ops to allow non-team members to jump under the guise of maintaining a "bench" for the team.

CDR

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Thanks for all the feedback. I think that there may be a few viable options out there. Maybe not with a complete club but we may be able to get some kind of a 'Welcome Home' tandem operation going. I could bring in a few TMs from local DZs and create a DZ for a day type of thing (just a little brain storming here). MWR would subdize the jumps which would get the plane flying. I'm at Camp Lejeune NC so we have plenty of aircraft and open spaces.

I think that there would be plenty of interest and commanders would support it. The only problem would be allowing civilian TMs on to mil-air. Lots of ideas floating around in all this empty space I have ... :ph34r:
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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Thanks for all the feedback. I think that there may be a few viable options out there. Maybe not with a complete club but we may be able to get some kind of a 'Welcome Home' tandem operation going. I could bring in a few TMs from local DZs and create a DZ for a day type of thing (just a little brain storming here). MWR would subdize the jumps which would get the plane flying. I'm at Camp Lejeune NC so we have plenty of aircraft and open spaces.

I think that there would be plenty of interest and commanders would support it. The only problem would be allowing civilian TMs on to mil-air. Lots of ideas floating around in all this empty space I have ... :ph34r:



As a Former Mil T-I, club member and NCOIC of a Team, I have had a bit of dealings with the DoD Regs that these things end up being operated under. Plus you will get the additional Navy Regs applied too.

A "Tandem Operation Welcome Home" (like so many DZ's near Mil Posts sort of have) may be more marketable if a Commander sees one in operation at it's home DZ. OR is one can be brought in "lock, stock and Barrel".

The big hurdle lots of AVN CDR's balk over is a Civi on the A/C and Liability. They even fight when a retiree gets on a plane to help the Mil Unit!

Now of course that I have been the "Negative Nelly" I do wish you luck and success with the idea. I know the program I started took three DZ's before it was able to actually work and still runs today. So your idea will work eventually with your efforts!

Matt
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

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Hi Matt & Diesel

We used to jump at the Ft lewis club as a DOD civie.
I was so outstanding some of the chopper pilots would start giving me the finger (trigger) before the bird landed for first load.:P

I had my DOD ID in my shirt pocket and the pres of the club had the regs with him so it wasn't a big problem.

The problem I saw with the AVN commander at Ft Lewi was they didn't want to support the club even for the G.I.s.

The chopper pilots spend lot of time away from home (pre sand pile) and would rather spend time their weekends with their other family.

Had one huey pilot call last load in flt on the first load due to mechanical problems. We had a huey pilot, jumper on the load with us. The mechanical problem was fixed in flight;)

Tandem ops for wounded soldiersB|. The public affairs office and the general's should like the chance to help our wounded vets.

Good PR in the press, colored pictures etc. vs budget cuts. I think the wounded vets have a chance especially if Bush senior or a senior congress person writes a letter.

FWIW I've already written my congress people about the treatment our wounded vets and their families are recieving from the VA.

It doesn't take a vet to write their congress people and encourage them to do the right thing,


Good luck

R NMI P:|
One Jump Wonder

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I jumped at the Fort Campbell Sport Parachute Activity from1991 until it closed. I was on the last load that ever flew off Son DZ. I still live in the area, and I still have the SOP on my computer (was helping the DZO draft the re-write).

Campbell died because A/C hours got scarce, and the AVN Bde Cdr was not hot on it. Truth was, the staff had to fly to get hours for flight pay, and it was more efficient to fly us jumpers than bore holes in the sky, but the AVN Bde Cdr didn't see it that way.

Some didn't know how good we had it. I still jump with lifelong friends who were former members, including the first guy that touched me in freefall, 20 years ago this year.

There was a LOT of history tied to the military jump clubs, it's a travesty how they went away and all their stuff was cut up and thrown away.

The clubs were good for the sport, and they were good for the soldiers for multiple reasons:

- On post, in a supervised environment
- Getting good training that made them better soldiers (if you don't think learning to control your fear in a high-stress situation benefits soldiers, you'd be wrong).
- a way to burn off steam in a controlled environment
- a living recruiting poster for the spec ops guys

Now, the Army's got problems with young soldiers buying sportbikes and killing themselves in record numbers, they are coming up with all these "adventure training" ideas to try and relieve all the battle stress in a controlled situation, and 2 inches in FRONT OF THEIR NOSE WAS THE ANSWER ALL THE TIME...

Military Intelligence can sometimes truly be an oxymoron...
Keith Abner
D-17590

"Those who do, can't explain; those who don't, can't understand"

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The last club to go away for the Army was at Fort Bragg, and it went through several evolutionary changes in order to keep it alive for a while.



Just saw this thread...I learned at the 82d's club. What a great deal; something like 300 bucks for the entire static line course and gear rental was I think 20 for the whole weekend. I consider myself so lucky that I learned at Raeford with those guys. I often wonder where they all are now?

I still try and make a few jumps at Raeford when I can make it back for All-American Week.
"Fuck that. I'll take a good ass-pounding over a bj any day." -- pyrotech

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I am an origonal member of the Cherry Point Skydivers which started in 61. We teamed up with the Lejune skydivers and did a lot of jumping at civilian areas nearby, noteably Fountain & Washington. Had a neat clubhouse at Geiger. We later formed a demo team & went around the country. I was president of the Cherry Point club when I got out in 63 and I don't recall having any official ties to the base. We did have a real hot shit Lt. who could move mountains and later retired as a Major after being wounded in the land of bad things. Anyway he got the CO of New River to give us the use of a helicopter, but he wouldn't assign pilots, so for three bottles of Scotch we bribed them, and they flew us from Fountain, which was of course civilian owned. He also convinced HQMC to allow us to go to demos TAD. This sort of petered out with Nam. We also used civilian AC a lot.
Not sure how things are with the military now, but I imagine that they have tightened up a lot. My guess would be to have as few ties to the military as possible & use a civilian field with private AC.
My friend is still Gung Ho, & could possibly give you some ideas. I would want to get his OK prior to putting you in touch.
By the way, I have a grandson who is presently at Lejune, waiting to head for the big sandbox. He is interested in jumping & I lurked his 1st tandem last year.

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An honor to see your post sir. I was born the year you started, back when jumping WAS dangerous.

On another subject, I had a chance to talk to a former Cdr of the Golden Knights about a week ago at a change of command at FTCKY; we had a nice talk reminiscing about the military clubs.
Keith Abner
D-17590

"Those who do, can't explain; those who don't, can't understand"

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Make me very grateful for the opportunities we have within in the British Army, which puts a big emphasis on adventure training.

The continual development of instructors, infrastructure and ready available training to servicemen and families is a great resource.

Adventure training throughout the British forces is highly regarded and utilised, considering the current budget restraints.

http://www.army.mod.uk/events/training/1037.aspx

It's always a shame when club, equipment and people disperse, hard to regain momentum and get clubs going again.

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