Howard Hodges

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  1. About 4 yrs or so when I was in Las Vegas, I spoke to SGM(R) Bob McDermott. a retired Army Sergeant Major, who was the First Sergeant of the Army Parachute Team when Mike Steele & I were on the Army Parachute Team. He said, as I best recall, that Mike was the most naturally talented jumper he had ever seen. I understand that Mike was either the #1 rated high school gymnast in his event in California or at the top. This might be why he was so talented in the air. He made the US CISM Team (sort of international military Olympics) among other accolades. My understanding was that the student was significantly overweight which might have contributed to his having gotten unstable -- but this is SECOND-HAND hearsay heard years ago. I was a Public Affairs/Narrator with well under 50 jumps (not even an A Class holder), so please rely on USPA reports or Col (R) Chris Needles, our former Team Commander at the time (& last I heard, USPA Director) for more definitive info. The only point I'm trying to make is that this gifted jumper, friend, rommie, and amazing personality saved his student at the cost of his own life. I still miss him to this day and would love to hear from his sister, Denise again.