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    Stevensville, Mt.
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  1. steve1

    Hod Sanders

    Hod had one of the nicest funerals, that I've ever been to. At one point the preacher asked those who had jumped with Hod to stand up. About half the people in the church stood up. That added up to a lot of jumpers. B.J. knew Hod the best and he told numerous stories about him. Hod was a natural at skydiving. On Hod's first jump, an emergency chute opened in the plane with an open door. I heard that story many years ago. I think it was B.J's belly reserve. He was right next to the door jumpmastering.....Somehow they managed to keep the canopy inside the plane and they landed. Ten minutes later Hod was back in the air. He did a perfect job on his first static line, even after all that drama. B.J. moved to the Gulch, (Casa Grande) in the mid 70's. Most of the world's great skydivers were there, during that time. B.J. telephoned Hod, back in Montana to tell him the news. Hod was so jealous that he promptly quit college and drove to Arizona to be with B.J. Hod was a natural at skydiving. B.J. said he never messed up and he could fly like a bird. One day Hod reported to B. J. that he had actually talked to the great Jerry Bird. He was very excited to be able to do that. Later Jerry Bird became team mates with Hod and B.J. Before long Hod became famous too, but you'd never know it to talk to him. Hod would talk to anyone and his friendly nature never changed. Hod had eleven thousand and thirty- four jumps when he died. He was a three time World Champion. Jumping was his life. What made Hod so fun to jump with, was his great, cheerful attitude. Everyone liked him. Not everyone could come to the funeral. B.J. read about forty e-mails from former team mates and friends from all over the world. I forgot to mention that Hod was on the United States Navy Parachute team. For a while he and Tina were living in a tent, on the drop zone at Perris. B.J. was always calling Hod off, from his home and family to go some place to jump. That inacluded world record big-ways in Thailand. Tina put up with it, because it was so important to Hod. Hod named his first born son B.J. Hod's family and friends will miss him terribly...... Hod and Tina's son Jake said that his dad may have been a success at skydiving, but he was an even bigger success at being a Dad and Grandpa. No matter what happened, Hod's family knew that he loved them. There weren't many dry eyes after listening to all that. What a loss!
  2. steve1

    Smoke jumping tragedy 1949

    I can't get you-tube to work this morning. This must be the Mann Gulch fire. A good read on this is "Young Men and Fire" by Norman Maclean. He wrote "A River Runs Through It". When I trained to get my Senior Rigger's license I worked under Master Rigger Jack Nash. Jack was the assistant squad leader who dropped those smokejumpers on the Mann Gulch fire. Jack said he was the oldest Smoke Jumper ever to go through the training program at the base in Missoula. We were fortunate to be able to skydive out of the smokejumper aircraft in Missoula during the 70's. Jerry Bird's All Stars even came to one of our meets to jump out of those DC-3's and twin beeches. My Dad dropped smokejumpers out of Bob Johnson's Travel Aires and Tri-motors in Missoula during the 40's. One thing you never want to do is get above a burning fire on a steep hillside. You might not be able to outrun it. I think 13 smokejumpers died in the Mann Gulch Fire. I've known several Smoke Jumpers from Missoula, over the years. Most were real characters. I could tell stories about most all of them.....
  3. Gee Whiz! This is interesting reading. There were some wild characters jumping in the old days. I don't think I ever met a Texan that I didn't like....
  4. steve1

    Bob Sinclar

    Sorry to hear that. Many of us have been wondering about him.....
  5. steve1

    Jumpsuit Grippers

    I've got smaller hands. I had the best luck grabbing a handful of material rather than a wrist. It seemed like everyone had belled jump suit for a while. It also helped to keep a little bend in your elbow to obsorb some of the tension on a bigger star. I wonder if most younger jumpers even know what a star is....I haven't heard that term in a long time. Jerry Bird's All Stars are one team I'll never forget. I miss those days. All you had to remember was to look for something round and get in. Everything else was muscle memory....
  6. steve1

    The Sky of our Earth

    Some of my proudest moments were captured by Ray Cottingham and Mike McGowan. They might look like little ways in another's eye, but they were big doings in mine.
  7. steve1

    VERY Early Contact Skydives

    Now that sounds like a wild time. This may be a whole new discipline that nobody has ever thought up....
  8. steve1

    First 16-way star, April '69

    A 16 way was "big doings" back in the early 70's. Most of us would have given a lot to be in one. The closest we ever came was a 15 way in about 75 or so. B.J. Worth was on the load. A couple of Jerry Bird's team mates (from Jerry Bird's All Stars) stopped by to jump. Most of us were just local yocals. We were in awe of these California jumpers, and one of them organized the load. They were just passing through town. We rented a D.C. three from the Smoke Jumpers. The star built to 15 before it blew up. That was a new state record for Montana. We were all proud of ourselves. But we still never earned our 16 way patch...."What a bummer!" I would have loved to have sewn that thing on my jump suit, next to my SCS and SCR....
  9. steve1

    Alaska 1958

    Can you make that a little bigger Howard? I can't quite read it....
  10. When I started jumping in the early 70's, Elsinore was the happening place. Nearly all jumpers wanted to jump there some day. It was thirty years before I was finally able to make a pilgrimage to that place. This DZ was one of the stomping grounds of the great Jerry Bird. I'm glad it's still a great place to jump!
  11. steve1

    Airborne Songs & Poems

    This is one cadence that was called (on runs) when I was in Infantry training at Ft. Polk in 1970..... I want to be an Airborne Ranger I want to live a life of danger I want to go to Vietnam Just to kill old Charlie Cong Up the hill....."Up the Hill" Down the hill....."Down the Hill" gonna be......"Gonna Be" Airborne......"Airborne" Ranger......"Ranger" Won't quit......"Won't Quit" Can't quit......"Can't Quit" Driving on......."Driving On" I guess this needs a drill sargent or black hat calling it, with a company of men replying, to make sense. My memory is about shot, but I still remember this cadence well!
  12. During the cold war with the Soviet Union, B.J. Worth, Skratch Garrison, and Hod Sanders made some jumps with the Russians. It was someplace over there. (Maybe Skratch can comment on this, if he sees this)....Hod said they spoke a common language-(Vodkaese).
  13. steve1

    Jumping at Casa Grande

    No, Dave Cartwright was killed doing a demo for a health club opening in NW Phoenix. ) .................................................................... Hod Sanders told me a story of a load he was on, doing a demo into a Health Club in Arizona. When they got on the ground he found out one of his pals had gone in. So, I'll bet this was the same guy. The year was probably around 75. He and B.J. were jumping at the Gulch then....
  14. steve1

    Origins of military parachuting

    I think most seals found jump school really easy compared to the training that they had just been through. There were several seals training with us, in jump school, back in 1970. When one was dropped for pushups, they all dropped and did them as a group. You had to admire that kind of comradery. The first thing I learned in Jump School was that you'd better do what your Black Hat (instructor) said or you were in a world of trouble. One thing you didn't do was joke with a Black Hat. I mean this training was supposed to be serious shit! I read an interesting story a few years back about Harry O'connor when he went through Jump School..... One day it was really really hot. The trainees were allowed to jump in this big water trough to cool off. Seals are trained to hold their breath forever. So there lay Harry O'connor on the bottom of that deep water tank. A Black Hat figured he must be drowning so he reaches in with one arm to pull him out. The next thing you know this Black Hat is yanked off his feat and into the tank by Harry. I'll bet he got some pushup for that....Steve1
  15. steve1

    DZ near Great Falls,Montana?

    There may be another skydiver or two in Great Falls. I think they all travel to Lost Prairie near Kalispell to jump. Call Fred Sands at Marion, Mt. or at Lost Prairie. Possibly you could commute with them. There is also jumping at Ronan, and Hamilton. They too are in the weastern part of the state. There may also be a little jumping going on in the Bozeman area....Cal Jeff Schlabs or possibly Robby Buckles in Bozeman. I don't know why there is no jumping in Great Falls. There has never been a jump club there that I know of. Hope this helps....Steve