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docjohn

Ft Hood Sport Parachute Club

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So does anyone else out there remember the Ft Hood Sport Parachute Club circa 1976? UH-1 Helicopter jumps for $4/month (not per jump, per MONTH!). I still have some of the club newletters.

Am I the only old fart left who remembers those great days? Come on! Its only been 31 years!
Doc
http://www.manifestmaster.com/video

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I guess I'm a much older fart than you. when I was jumping with the club in 1961 it cost $25.00 to join but you got all the ground training, first jump and a club patch. Gene Richie was President and one of its founders. WE Jumped H-19, H-34, HU-1, H-21, AL-1, and U-1A and anything else we could beg a lift on


The only thing I miss about jumping rounds is getting driven into the ground like a stake.

POP'S 9817 SOS 1172

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IN SEPTEMBER OF 1972 THE CLUB HOSTED THE SOUTH WEST USPA CONFERENCE MEET. WHAT A BLAST FOR US CIVILIAN TYPES. $3.50 JUMPS FROM CHOPPERS! A LOT OF US, FROM THE HOUSTON/BEAUMONT AREA ENTERED THE MEET JUST TO BE ABLE TO JUMP HELICOPTERS. WE WERN'T COMPITITION SERIOUS, JUST A BUNCH OF FUN JUMPERS. HECK, WE EVEN HAD A PICK UP TEN MAN SPEED STAR TEAM. THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT HAROLD MCELFISH LOST HIS GOGGLES ON A FOUR WAY JUMP AND OPENED RATHER LOW ON HIS PARA-COMMANDER. IF MEMORY SERVES ME WELL HE ONLY HAD ABOUT A FIVE SECOND CANOPY RIDE! AH, THE GOOD OLD DAYS.--

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Yes, I well remember the Ft Hood club in 76. Don McGillicuty, Al Pohl, Bruce Funk and more. Checking 10 reserves out from salvage, cutting five of them in half, turning the 10 half parachutes back in and keeping the other five off the books. Putting a hole in the oil pan of my 69 Z 28 at the creek washout. Jumping with General John Singlab, the guy later fired for saying Pres Carter's troop cuts in Korea were stupid and dangerous. 10 hours of Huey blade time per week. Having a bad spot and landing in the ammo dump, knowing there was a private down there with real bullets who will shoot us. I wonder where everyone is now.

Tom Birdwell
Tom B

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The club got less and less frequent to the point that in the 80's the only birds they could get would be National Guard Helo's at Ft. Hood during their Annual Training. My Airborne unit was doing its own Annual Training when I heard the club was getting a CH-47 Chinook so being a good skydiver w/rig stored with the Riggers I went bakc to an adjacent DZ to "look" for some "lost" equipment. Jumped my butt off for $1.00 a lift per person to 10 grand!!! Hot damn I love skydiving.

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I remember Laura Hood from Ft. Carson Colorado. In fact I trained her and put her out on her first jump. Have no idea what became of her. I believe she was from Tenn.

Fun times!

_________________________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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Hey Doc, I started there in '85.

FJC was about the same as civilian clubs then at $125. After that it was $1/jump. No shit. Once you had your JM rating, jumps were free.

Aircraft support was hot and cold, usually about one weekend a month. But they were cool aircraft, either a Huey, Chinook or Blackhawk.

See you Saturday Doc.

Keith

''Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.'' - Ernest Hemingway

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WOW john, I was just looking to start jumping again, and decided to check this site. What a surprise to see your post. I remember all those guys. Specially that crazy ducket who almost kill us all when his chute got tangled on the rear rotor, after he walked the skid to scare the crap out of Alan. I also remember that girl that bounced when she slipped from her harness.
remember the air force guy biggyrat?

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Just happenned to see this so I'm chiming in. Here is an update on some of the ex Ft Hood people. I worked for the Feds for 37yrs (ATC) and am semi retired and live in Ft Worth, TX. Frank Hope worked at Albuquerque Center. Terry Chavez worked at San Antonio Tower. Mike Weber worked at Phoenix TRACON. I'm not sure if they are still working or retired.

Mike Weber got me on a DC3 Load in Coolidge in the 80's when I flew out the weekend for the U2 Rattle N Hum concert at Sun Devil Stadium. ( The concert that was 5 bucks for each night cause they were making the concert into a movie.)
The DC3 was the Col Joe one that is now at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. While we were climbing to altitude the left engine tried to quit several times. We ended up getting about 10,000 feet and got out and did a 12-way. The plane had thrown a jug on the way down and landed with the left engine feathered.

Ran into Jack Heady some time back when I lived in Houston. He had come to Skydive Houston to do some demo. Unfortunately he passed away about two weeks after that. I didn't even know he was sick. Don McGillicuty is also gone due to cancer.

On the bright side, Remember our pilot Gary Lash. Gary flys Boeing 737-800's for American Airlines.

I remember the time Sheila Lindley got out on the skid and crawled to the front of the Huey and knocked on his windshield.

The other crazy thing that happened there was when Al Pohl packed his strato-cloud in that paper grocery bag and just daisy chained the lines in his racer and went up and jumped. Pieces of that bag went everywhere on opening.

Yeah Duckett was a trip as some of you have mentioned.

Those club days were fun. I just can't believe that we used to jump such gutter gear compared to what we jump now. Going from those 28TU's to a Katana. What a jump trip it's been. I remember my first parachute the r/w/b PC I bought from Col Bob Spear, the chaplain.

Nice to hear from you'll, I jump at Skydive Dallas now but it's been so windy and turbulent the last two weekends that it hasn't been worth going to the DZ.

biggierat

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To all former Ft Hood skydivers. If any of you have pics from there that you are willing to share and email or snail mail to me, I would greatly appreciate them. All my pictures of those days were lost in a PCS long ago. Thanks to all for the memories, and have a great Thanksgiving. I will fix my settings here soon, but please use the contact info below. Jumping at Hood, with you guys, was one of the greatest privileges of my life. :)

Tom Birdwell
6031 Bendel Drive
Middletown, OH 45044
[email protected]
(513) 539-7411
Tom B

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"If I'm not mistaken Tom Birdwell used to jump with that crew, I know he was stationed there, got hurt in a jeep roll over. He still jumps today some. "

Just for the record Mr. Cooper, We didn't roll the jeep over, we jumped out of it while driving across the impact area, after smoke started pouring out from around a .50 cal can of C4 and caps. We (EOD team) carried them for daily use. Turned out to just be that the can had grounded out a range control FM radio electrical wire, missing a 25 cent fuse. Murphy lives. Those were the good old days. ;)

Tom B

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Thanks for all the info guys. Yes I remember Al Pohl using the paper grocery sack for a deployment bag, and just stuffing his suspension lines in the tray of his rig. Who could say no? After all he was our ASO then then if memory serves.

Anybody remember the kid who got bit by the rattlesnake when collecting his canopy after his first jump? I can't recall his name. In my logbook somewhere, along with the lost pictures.

Gary Lash? Now there is a memory. Anybody remember the day about 9K when all the lights and buzzers went off, he went ashen and yelled at us to get the hell out NOW? Easy for us, as we had parachutes. Seems the trany lost all oil pressure and he was left hoping to get it back on the ground before it seized up and inertia seperated the rotor and engine from the airframe. That ended that day of jumping.

How about the bad spot that put us all landing in the ammo dump, south of the DZ, just inside the electric fence? I was on a 28' 7TU then. I remember on the way down thinking that if I didn't get electrocuted on the fence, that there were drugged up privates there with real guns and ammo, probably deciding we were commies, and cheerfully ready to shoot us all.

When I had about 100 jumps, Pohl and some other wizzards planned a cross country jump perfectly. 10 miles out, on a PC, and I landed in the peas. I must have weighed less then.

I caught up with Bruce Funk maybe 20 years ago in Germany, where he then worked as a contractor for DOD. Not sure where he is now.

Bruce was from the Chicago area. About 10 years ago I was jumping at Skydive Chicago and called Bruce's ex-wife Marlice to come out for a beer. I started to give her directions to the DZ. She started laughing. Turns out the farm Roger Nelson bought for his DZ there was literally Bruce Funk's family farm. Small world.

Like I said in the other posts, if anyone has any pics they are willing to email, I would greatly appreciate it. So many great memories.

Blue Skies guys,

Tom Birdwell
[email protected]
Tom B

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Oh, one more thing. Remember the first jump classes then? Monday through Friday every evening, then a jump on Saturday if weather went well and we had aircraft?. In addition to all the jump and safety stuff, everyone learned to pack their own rigs, and did so for their very own first jumps. Can you imagine that today in all the AFF and Tandem mills?
Tom B

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Looks like this is an old post but I (Tom Drake) was a member in around 1967. Some of the team members there were Claude Pepin, Tom Borovicka, Ken Roelen, Gary Franciosi, Bill Beach, Dean Frazier. I remember our great truck, the Blue Goose, and being the only one to land in the stadium during the Armed Forces Day demo.....and with a Crossbow. Hope to catch up with some of these crazy guys, especially Claude Pepin.

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Ft Hood Sport Parachute Club
Nope, but I remember it from the 1960s.
I was a Texas A&M Aggie & training officer for the A&M Parachute Club. At that time all-male A&M was a ROTC military university, "Old Army"
Sgt. Gene Ritchie ran the Ft. Hood team. They supported the A&M Team giving us a lot of B4 rigs, 24' reserves and etc. We traded some to McElfish Parachute Service and got back sport rigs with sleeves and with modifications cut and taped. I had a 7-TU.
They also kept us supplied with M60 Smoke Grenades, smoke pots, flares, and artillery simulators. Both teams competed at the regional style + accuracy meets across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. We'd take the C-Rations the Ft. Hood guys gave us, wire them to the car exhaust manifold to heat our eats.
Some of my Ft. Hood parachute friends included Sgt. Ritchie, Tom Boravicka, Hop Harbeson, Stan Troeller and several others I can't remember. Fun times…. We’d all jump for the Confederate AirForce demos when we could…. Back then, lack of $$ meant no jumps except for Demos and Parachute meets.
Pat Works nee Madden Travis Works, Jr .B1575, C1798, D1813, Star Crest Solo#1, USPA#189,

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I jumped at Coulter Field in Bryan, TX in 84-85, and we had 2-3 guys come over from Ft. Hood on a regular basis. They did a lot of helicopter jumps at the base for cheap, but wanted some good quality skydives with other jumpers so they came over and jumped with the Texas A&M club.

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Wow. What a surprise to find this thread. I learned to jump with the Ft Hood club. I don't think it had been active for awhile when I started. Seemed like we were starting over. Old Quonset hut with some old rigs. Most of which were no good. We jumped every Saturday and Sunday. Mostly huey's but the occasional beaver. It was all free too. My first Jump was April 11th, 1970. Then general Singlaub was an honorary member and he couldn't stand seeing the on call medi vac guys sitting around every weekend so he assigned them to us. I remember one day we were just about on jump run and they got a call so we all bailed. I wonder if they ever tell the story of the day they were flying along, got an emergency call, told everyone on board to get the hell out, AND THEY DID....:ph34r: CO was Maj. Jim Hanke. The local Airborne CO was also a member so every month when his company made their pay jump, we tagged along. 15k off the back ramp of a C130. Awesome. Some members were Rob Cook. Cobra pilot. CWO Ed Avery, D1662. Bob Oliver, George Koss, Jack Gladish, Mike Sweat, Ben Johnson, Mike Mullins, D1643, Dave Kempin. Gave up the sport sometime around 1973 or 4. Big mistake. Miss it.

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