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Everything posted by ArvinAlP64

  1. Hi, Maybe Mr. Dishroon was in the 507th PIR. This is a film about their jump on D Day, their fight at the Battle of the Bulge and their jump at Operation Varsity. d-day Down to Earth – Return of the 507th A unit of the 507th is training parachutists at Fort Benning now. Thank You, Mr. Dishroon. Al Paradowski, SCR 002
  2. Hi Tim, We lost a very important big-way relative work pioneer on August 23, 2016. Jim Dann was originally from Texas. He joined the Marines at age fifteen and served on a Navy ship. He moved to Burbank, California and worked in an aircraft overhaul facility where he met Bob Buquor. Jim was one of Bob's few skydiving students. I met Jim at Burbank Airport on October 17, 1964. A mutual friend had organized a 10,000 foot Saturday morning one-way adventure headed north in a C172 with the door on. We jumped into a little DZ just past the Grapevine outside a small agricultural town named Arvin. I had twenty-two jumps. Jim and I both lived in Burbank and began sharing expenses driving up to Arvin on the weekends. We'd also attend Brian Williams's Music Appreciation, Wine Sipping and Parachute Packing Society meetings on Tuesday nights. We would wind up moving into the guest house of his mom's new place in Burbank. Listed below are some of Jim's early accomplishments: First seven-man star: Arvin, CA. Early 1965. Bill Newell and I witnessed it from the packing tables. First eight-man star: Arvin, CA. October 17, 1965. First ten-man hook-up: Arvin, CA. February, 1966. First ten-man baton pass: Arvin, CA. May 15, 1966. First nine-man star: Arvin, CA. May 29, 1966. The last weekend of the Arvin DZ. Stunt jumps for, "Don't Make Waves," the Tony Curtis, Sharon Tate movie filmed by Bob Buguor. Bob drowned on one of the camera jumps on July 27, 1966 off Malibu Pier, CA. First ten-man star: Taft, CA. July 2, 1967. Yearly big-way demo jumps into The Stock Plane Air Races at Shafter, CA Original member of The Arvin Good Guys speed ten-way team. Please feel free to make additions and/or corrections as needed. Fly Free Jim Al Paradowski SCR 002
  3. Hi Don, My first jump instructor signed my logbook: "Ed Duncan, C201, D53" at Elsinore, CA on June 23, 1963. The list of D license holders shown in this thread has two "Edmond C. Duncan"s, one from TX (D-37) and one from CA (D-53). I'm just wondering if there are actually two "Edmond C. Duncan"s in the under-100 D licenses. I've never seen a conversation discussing this coincidence or distinguishing one person from the other. Do you happen to know if your Ed Duncan worked at Elsinore in 1963? Or if he practiced for the first six-man at Arvin, CA in August of 1964? Thanks, Al Paradowski SCR 002
  4. Hi Doc, They certainly were The Greatest Generation! It's amazing to learn what so many people from different countries sacrificed for us and the rest of the world during WWII. I personally experienced the consideration of the French people. Every July 14th our unit was invited to march in the local Bastille Day parade commemorating the French Revolution of 1789. It's their July 4th. Your trip to St. Mere-Eglise must have been extra special with your uncle having jumped in on D-Day. I hope you were there on an important anniversary day. My dad served on a PT Boat in the Pacific and never mentioned the war. He lived to age 47 before the booze and a failed bid for a Wisconsin state senate seat cut it short. Blue Skies, Al
  5. Hello Dennis, Thanks for the heads up on Brian. I just sent him an email and also touched base with Rachael Newell in case she didn't know. Al Paradowski
  6. Hi Chris, I was in the Army in Toul, France from '59 to '61, rebuilding heavy equipment engines in the 507th Engineering Company, Depot Maintenance. I became weight lifting buddies with Ray Elliott, an older guy (early 30s) who had seen infantry combat in Korea, had re-upped and gone Airborne. Ray was the trainer on the TASCOM boxing team, encouraged me to get on the team and also inspired me to later get into sport jumping in California. Each military unit accumulates oral folklore about those who went before them. The 507th had a dramatic lineup of stories. Coincidentally, it seemed that wherever civilians asked what unit we were in, they'd treat us extremely well when they heard, "507th Engineering Company, Depot Maintenance." This increased our admiration for our company alumni. Every French school kid and their parents, regardless of their command of English, seemed to know the number designations of the units that distinguished themselves from 5 June 1944 until the end of the war. Any number that started with "five oh" was gold. The "Engineering Company, Depot Maintenance" part didn't stop them from making a big deal over us. It wasn't until checking the internet for military reunions a few years ago, that I realized just whose coat tails I had actually been riding those many years ago in the Paris and Amsterdam nightspots. Here's a short movie, "D-Day Down to Earth--Return of the 507th." I hope the link works. Al Paradowski SCR 002
  7. Hi Chris, I couldn't help noticing that little patch marked "5 June 1944" at the right of plate #1. Did your dad jump into St. Mere Eglise the night before D Day? If so, what unit was he with at the time? Did he talk about those experiences? I'm attaching my one and only patch from my short civilian career. Al Paradowski SCR 002
  8. Thanks Jim, Here's a 1965 Arvin 4-man captured by Bob Buquor's camera looking south down Edison Road (cotton gin in background). Bill Newell at 9 o'clock, Tommy Owens at 12, Tim Harris at 3 and Jim Dann at 6 o'clock. Al Paradowski SCR 002
  9. Hi Ed, Drive west out of Arvin on 223. Turn left on Edison Rd. and head south for a couple of miles. I remember being able to see the cotton gin way off in the distance to the south from the DZ parking lot on Edison Rd. Google Earth shows what looks to be the cotton gin on the west side of Edison Rd. The target was about 150 yards west of Edison Rd. You could stand in the driveway facing west (the culvert may still be there) and see the high voltage power lines running diagonally across about three miles away. I believe the undeveloped land was owned by Union Oil. It appears now to be planted with crops. On the east side of Edison Rd. were grape vineyards with four foot high wooden stakes every five feet. If you opened over the grapes and tried to steer down the east/west rows, the prevailing NW winds would blow you diagonally across them. We used to say, "Pick out a stake at 100 feet and try to hit it." We knew we weren't that good and would probably just miss it. Al Paradowski SCR-2
  10. Hi FinisP, I met your father in November of 1964 when a guy in a bar invited me to jump into a place called Arvin. Jim Dann was on that three-jumper load out of Flying Tigers in Burbank. Jim worked with Bob at Pacific Airmotive Corporation (PAC) near Lockheed and was one of his skydiving students. As you know, your father was the driving force behind organizing and filming larger and larger freefall formations at Arvin. Most of us tried to get good enough to be invited on Bob's camera jumps. If we didn't get on "The Good Load" we'd put together the best one we could and try to get a hookup going. Everybody was "under the microscope" so if someone "bombed" a star, Bob Buquor knew about it within minutes. Of the hundreds of early jumps made at Arvin only a few were successfully executed as planned. Many ended in awkward ragtag "no touches" or misshapen formations collapsing into violent whirlpools of twisting bodies and swinging boots. Most chaotic weekends would be salvaged on Sunday evening with what evolved into a traditional four-man dusk jump out of Dave Keagey's 195 from 5500 or 6500 ft. I would exit first, Bill Newell would pin me and then Jim Dann and your father would smoothly complete the formation with smiles all around as the sun disappeared into the ocean. I remember visiting your dad one evening in his trailer in the San Fernando Valley. It was early in my career and I rode along with Bob Thompson (first six-man) who went to pick up some jump photos from Bob. I found Bob to be a really personable guy. I don't know if it was you or your sister that Brian Williams introduced me to at the restaurant following Bill Newell's funeral service but I have more stories if you're interested. Here's a picture of your dad I got recently from Tim Harris. Al Paradowski SCR-2
  11. I was initially alarmed to hear that a Marine named Ed Miller, who had jumped in Southern Cal back in the day, had recently died of cancer. I checked logbook #1 and was relieved to find that the one I knew was Edwin D. I still followed the thread, noticing many similarities, even a physical likeness, to my old friend. Today I'm saddened to learn that it was, in fact, my friend. So here are my belated recollections. We met in Glendale, California at Vic Tanny's Gym, where I had been previously employed; my first job out of the service. Ed worked at Cal Edison and told us about climbing "bare 90s" (90 foot high wooden power poles with no steps) using pole climbers strapped to his boots and a waist belt looped behind the pole. Ed overheard me talking to Fred Alexander about my desire to make one parachute jump. Ed and Fred were both on reserve status with the Force Recon unit stationed at Pendleton. My girlfriend and I attended the Force Recon Marine Corps Ball at Pendleton as Fred's guests. Both Ed and Fred were airborne qualified and Ed was a current sport jumper. So, now after opening my big mouth about wanting to jump, I had more or less sealed my fate. I first went to Lake Piru on May 18, 1963, bought a logbook and got first jump training ($25.00) from Sgt. Stan Parker. It was overcast so I did mucho redundant PLFs from every conceivable angle off a picnic table. There were a couple of hop & pops made but the 2000 foot ceiling never cleared so Sgt. Stan gave me a full refund and even took us to the Tack and Saddle in Glendale for drinks. I say "us" because my buddy who had provided our transportation also brought a date, Natalie Wood's younger sister (I learned years later) to be an observer. I believe the Norseman went into Lake Casitas with a full load (one fatality) shortly thereafter?? I wound up at Elsinore on June 23, 1963 to get a physical, more training and make my first jump. Naturally, I reported back to Ed Miller at the gym that week. Ed suggested that we ride down to Elsinore the following weekend. He even offered me his Recon jump helmet to use. Luckily, my internal dialog had already begun, "Sure, you made one jump; anybody can make one jump. But now that you know how scary it is, can you do it one more time?" A few of Elsinore's jumpmasters were Recon so Ed got on my load. He would go out higher with my jumpmaster for a quick two-man. So at 3 grand I got out on the step/wheel?? of the 172 and my jumpmaster tapped me off for my second jump. As I left, I was so sense-overloaded I actually thought I heard someone yelling "Pull your reserve! Pull your reserve!" I was busy concentrating on my counting, but when I got to "eight thousand" I wondered if that voice had been real. I brought both hands in to my reserve but my head pitched down. So, I thrust my hands back out, got level, then quickly went for my reserve again, fully intending to pull this time. Just then, my main opened (cone lockup) and I had a normal landing. All agreed I had attained terminal velocity, was stable all the way and swung in around a thousand feet. Everyone was mad at me, even the dropzone coach on the PA system. My jumpmaster did, in fact, yell at me after I exited. Ed said, "Don't ever do that when I'm on the load." I can imagine how he must have felt, sitting in the back not being able to see anything except my JM going ballistic after I left. Ed and I discussed my future in jumping. But my internal dialog was saying, "Man, you can't end it on THIS jump." I don't remember Ed's exact position on the matter but we made another jump about an hour later. Ed signed off six of my first nine jumps; "Edwin D. Miller, B926." Ed and I gradually lost touch but I used his Recon jump helmet (a leather football helmet w/ chin cup, painted OD with the holes covered up with fabric tape) well into my days at Arvin. I was wearing Ed's helmet the time I got knocked out when Bob Thompson (1st six-man) and I elected to ride our tangled canopies in after a low two-man. I guess it's about time to recount that one in "Scary Stories." The last time I saw Ed Miller was when his unit got activated and was going to Viet Nam. I think I rode to Pendleton with Terry Ward who had (formerly?) been in Ed's Recon unit. I can't remember if it was still in the '60s or the early '70s. I do recall being surprised at seeing Ed and sheepishly telling him that I still had his helmet somewhere. He just said "Forget it." That statement lead me to believe that he was also headed overseas that day. It's sad to hear we've lost him. Al Paradowski SCR2
  12. Thanks Tim Al Paradowski SCR2
  13. Hi Tim, Thanks for the pictures. I dropped in, unannounced, at the Air Trash reunion at Taft on Saturday, 5-26-12 (first time for me). I wanted to spend some time with Bill Newell. I ran into Deac Dillon who didn't recognize me and so he took me over to Brian Williams to watch the fun. I even took off my hat and shades for Brian, but he couldn't place me either. Brian said he'd heard I was dead and pointed to my name on the roster of old timers he had compiled. We spent about 15 minutes catching up with Pauline and Mary Stage. I later ambushed Bill and he said, "Hi, Al. How's it going?" We caught up with Richard (Kamikaze) Hernandez, Frank Venegas and Pete Negrete along with Marianne and Stan Troeller. I also got to meet many current jumpers. They sure are good in the air these days, particularly John Bull, Randy Forbes, John Velardo, Rick Schlueter and the rest of their crew, too numerous to mention here. Air Trash puts up their jump vids every week. Brian and Bill were honored with beautifully engraved memorial placards itemizing their respective milestones and contributions to relative work. Air Trash was preparing to take their picture, presenting them as members of the first eight man, when Bill came over and dragged me up too. We made "Photo of the Month." They should be putting up a video and pix of the entire day's festivities soon. We talked about the Skydiving Hall of Fame's early relative work gig in November. I hope you're planning to atttend. You belong there, Tim, and I'm sure everyone would like to see you. Thanks again. Al Paradowski SCR2
  14. Hi Tim, Great picture: very artsy, in a "Beat" sort of way. It captures the surrealism I sometimes experienced after a hard Saturday night in Arvin. I recognize most of the people except that guy in the door. If that's who I suspect it is, I have a scary anecdote about that load. Please list any names if you get a chance. Again, let me know if you could use a contribution for photo costs. Thanks, Al Paradowski SCR2
  15. Hi Skratch, I don't think that was me. At least, I HOPE that wasn't me. As you know, I managed to track through the front of Alan Walter's 32ft double L at 3 grand over Arvin. I was looking back and down on him as he waved off and pulled. I thought I was far enough ahead. But NOooo! I swear that big old white canopy shot forward 150 feet during inflation. Al threw his reserve and landed safely. I opened with a small line burn on my upper lip and a thrashed jumpsuit. I started taking it to 1800, thinking that was safer. Art Armstrong would later hate me for this skewed logic. He was right, of course. And I was wrong. Al Paradowski SCR2 PS More bad news on Air Trash (SCR1)
  16. Hi Tim, Good to know that someone had the presence of mind to take some photos. One of yours of the ten man baton pass is on the "Early RW Records" site. I still have an enlargement of that shot. I sure would be interested to see whatever you can put up on Dropzone. If a financial contribution would ease the pain, fly me an e-kite and I'll scrape one together. There's no time like the present. The old crowd seems to be shrinking at an alarming rate now. I don't know if you've seen Bill Newell's latest post (5-5-12) on Air Trash but it snapped me back to reality. Remember when Don Bradley used to ask, "Hey, want to get up a load? You know, cheat death; devil may care?" Those were the days. Al Paradowski SCR2
  17. The first time I saw Arvin, CA was from 10,000 feet. The early morning air of Saturday, October 17, 1964 was nippy at altitude. I had just squeezed out of a Cessna 172 and was locked into the largest, and most rigid spread eagle position every recorded, to that date. I had exited second of three, because we figured that Zane Strong, at 230 pounds, would be the best one to force the door open. I was diligently counting (altimeters?? we didn't need no stinking altimeters) and looking down, as suggested by Jim Dann, who I had met an hour earlier at the Flying Tigers hangar at Burbank Airport. As I neared my 39th second of terminal velocity (I had been to 5,500 twice), I wondered if it was such a good idea to try and be like those six Arvin guys on the previous month's cover of Parachutist Magazine. I had met Zane a few days earlier when he walked into the beer bar near my apartment in Burbank. He was wearing a jacket with a huge "Wisconsin State Parachute Club" patch on the back. The bartender knew I had jumped and he yelled, "Hey, Al, another skydiver...and he's your homey too!" That proved to be a fateful day for me. Zane said he was jumping into a place called Arvin on Saturday and invited me to go along. His wife would be driving up that afternoon. Around 8,500 feet I became aware of another life form closing in as Jim, inches away, slowly sank below me. He looked up and motioned to my lightweight self to pull in my arms and legs so I would fall faster. I tried pulling in a couple of times but it was just too little and too late. Jim finally shook his head and tracked away. I never did see Zane. We opened around 2,500, Jim knew to set his altimeter at +400 feet in Burbank. I was heading downwind toward a big white "X" spray-painted in the dirt when I heard a female voice from the ground. "Turn around, jumper. That's not the target. Turn around!" I cranked my newly-acquired 28 foot surplus candy-striped, 5-TU back into the wind and crashed onto the hard-packed taxiway. I was conscious and unhurt, this time (but that's another story). I laid there for a few seconds as Inge Onnes trotted up. "You okay?" "Yeah, just resting." I slowly got to my feet. "Man, you hit like a sack o' Bandini! That "X" marks the end of the runway; we had a Super G Connie here last week." "I thought it was a little close to the road; not to mention those wires." Inge grabbed my helmet and reserve. "So you know Jim Dann, huh?" She led me back to the packing tables and introduced me to the hardcore Saturday morning crowd. The thing I remember most about my first day at Arvin was the accepting attitude of everyone there. That night there was a big backyard party at Bill Newell's house in Bakersfield (one of many over the years). I remember the sound of the stereo blasting and Bill playing his conga drums mounted on a stand. I walked over and he motioned me to play one while he concentrated on the other. Brian Williams walked up and Bill introduced us. Brian played the other side of both drums. I'm pretty sure that Bill Stage was there because most of his crew was. That Arvin crowd sure knew how to party! Eventually, I got to wondering where I was going to spend the night. Luckily, Inge took me under her wing and we wound up with 11 other jumpers in a motel room across Old 99 from the Travelers Restaurant. There were two queen sized beds. The procedure was to pull the mattresses off onto the floor. There were three people to each box spring or mattress and one person got the cushions from the mini-sofa and chair. I shared a box spring between Inge and Don Bradley. The next morning was a beehive of activity with hung-over people bumping into each other trying to get organized. There were different shifts; the best relative workers went first so they could eat and head north up Old 99 to Bakersfield Air Park where the planes were tied down. These coveted Sunday morning "garbage-dump" jump-ins out of Dave Keagey's 195 and Walt Mercer's Howard took place every weekend. On this day I witnessed, even assisted in, some really, really sloppy pack jobs thrown together on that motel parking lot. Someone needed to transport the jumpers to the planes and then drive their cars out to the dropzone. I was designated to be one of the drivers; we stopped for breakfast at the Travelers on our way back. That was my introduction to the Arvin scene and people. The Arvin era technically ended on Sunday evening, May 30th, 1966, when we loaded that plywood shack on a big truck and deposited it at the new site in Old River. We started jumping there the next Saturday. But the Arvin spirit flows on. I see the Arvin spirit much like the "Aloha" spirit in surfing. Jumpers in the relative work community are innovative and they cooperate to push the envelope in ways that no one had thought possible. The Arvin spirit is perpetuated in the Star Crest Awards and we have Bill Newell to thank for this. Bill Newell developed, and has worked tirelessly to maintain, this way to include every relative work jumper into the spirit of Arvin whether or not they had a chance to physically visit the place. Thanks Bill. Al Paradowski SCR2
  18. Thanks for the picture Sparky. As you know, Tony Lemus took that 1965 shot in Arvin's Pioneer Club. Susie certainly elevated the place to a "Five Star" establishment that evening. She was such a warm and unassuming person. A great loss. Brian Williams, SCR 008, stands at her right and Bill Newell, SCR 003, is seated at her left. Also looking on are Bob Rhinehart (sitting) and Al Smith. Incidentally, Brian is wearing the pink jumpsuit he used while stunt-doubling Annette Funicello during Bob Buquor's filming of "Beach Blanket Bingo." Al Paradowski SCR2
  19. Hi Amy, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's difficult each time another good Arvin jumper leaves us. I'll always remember Susie as a bright light that transformed that dusty desert DZ into a special place. Al Paradowski SCR2
  20. Hi Bill, I want to extend my condolences regarding your recent loss. Yeah, you're certainly right about Don. To borrow a line, "He's a natural-born world-shaker." Hang in there, Bill. Al Paradowski SCR-2
  21. Sandy, I should have known not to try and swap jump stories with a pro. No way can I top those two you just told and include Don too. I do have one non-jump Don story, though. So we're riding bikes again one crystal-clear day heading west on Mulholland Drive. We're enjoying the views of the San Fernando Valley on one side and the LA Basin with the distant blue ocean on the other. Don turns left and heads down a canyon road towards Beverly Hills. We pull up along side a big mansion with a high see-through ornamental iron fence with spikes at the top. There's a woman in the yard. Don gets off, walks over and talks in low tones to the woman for a minute. He then turns and holds up a finger like, "I'll be back in a minute." So I sit with the bikes and wait while he disappears into the mansion with the lady. They come out after about ten minutes and carry on a cheery and animated conversation near the front door. I can't hear what they're saying but I'm thinking,"This reminds me of that movie, China Town." Finally he comes back and my mouth must've been hanging open or something because he says, "Oh, that used to be Howard Hughes' house. I just wanted to check out my room for old time's sake." I had known Don long enough not to dispute any claim he made. Then I started thinking about his connections with the film studios. As we rode down into Beverly Hills, I'm shaking my head and saying to myself, "Al, you got to get a life!" Al Paradowski SCR-2
  22. One Sunday at Arvin a bunch of us, Don Henderson included, were standing around the tables waiting for the tule fog to burn off. Someone started telling scary jump stories. I passed on this one I had heard at Elsinore about a first jump student on jump run (1963 or earlier) who was getting out onto the strut and flipped backwards off the wheel of the 172. He ended up hanging feet-to-earth and unconsciousness below the plane; his static line had taken a turn between him and his backpack. The pilot slowly circled and gained a little altitude to see if the student would come around so they could employ the standard EP for the situation. No luck; the student was still out cold. The jumpmaster had a hook knife on top of his reserve and decided he would slide down the static line, grab the guy's harness, cut his static line and then pull his reserve as they fell away together. The jumpmaster climbed out and made it most of the way down but lost his grip and fell off. This left only one other first jump student, the pilot and no more knives. The pilot took part of the dash (ashtray?) and bent it back and forth until he tore it in half. The new plan was for Student #2 to hook up his own static line, climb down Student #1's static line, grab onto his harness and get ready to pull Student #1's reserve handle. Then the pilot would saw through Student #1's static line, both jumpers would fall away and, as Student #2's main was deploying, he would pull Student #1's reserve handle. So Student #2 hooks up and slides down Student #1's static liine. Student #1 wakes up as Student #2 arrives and states that he wants to pull his own reserve. I don't recall exactly what happened from there on but the results were that Student #1's static line was cut by the pilot and he landed safely under his reserve. Student #2 had a clean static line deployment of his main. I said, "How'd you like to be that guy? It's your first jump, and you have to climb out and slide down a static line?" Don said, "That was me." Al Paradowski SCR-2
  23. Goodby Don. Thanks for everything. Al Paradowski SCR-2
  24. Hi Sandy, Thanks for being interested in the "old days." You've got three times more jumps than I do and I bet you have better stories than mine too. I'd like to hear some of yours if you care to share; after all, if we can't do that on this site, where else can we do it. To answer your question, I never got to know Gary Young that well and so we didn't keep in touch. The last time I saw Gary was at the twenty year 8-man reunion that Bill Newell put together in 1985. I was roommates with Jim Dann throughout the Arvin and Old River days, even into the "County Dump" period out of Bakersfield Airport so you'd think I'd have more info on Jim than SCR-216 just provided, but that's not the case. I believe MJOSPARKY posted something about Jim a while back. Probably the best source would be Bill Newell since he's the focal point of SCR and I would think he'd be tapped into the "grapevine." I believe Bill's email address is on the SCR site. The last time I saw Jim Dann was in the late-eighties when I organized a Saturday night jam session at Bill Newell's in Bake. Don Henderson and I rode our bikes up from LA. Don brought his baritone ukelele and I had my bongos. We met Jim at the Travelers Restaurant in Greenfield where we used to eat when Arvin was alive. Jim was riding a pan head he was restoring. We went over to Bill's and, if you've ever been to any of Bill's houses, you know he always has a room dedicated to music with a complete sound system and at least eight conga drums. Bill got me hooked on Latin percussion on the first night I ever spent in Arvin, but that's another story. So we get to singing, playing and recording any of the old tunes from the '60s we could remember. Jim was on lead guitar and vocals, Don on baritone uke, Bill on congas and I played bongos. The high point of the evening was when Don performed his "term project" from a college course in songwriting he had recently earned an "A" in. He not only managed to incorporate every single point that his professor had taught about modern songwriting but also conspicuously included them in the lyrics just to make sure that nobody could miss that fact. As you know, Don has a great sense of humor and a dynamite singing voice. I know that Bill recorded it because after Don did it once, I asked him to do it again and made sure that Bill was rolling tape. Thanks again Sandy, Al Paradowski SCR-2