FORMER JUMPMASTER FOR 82ND AIRBORNE SOUNDS THE ALARM FOR PARATROOPER DROP IN S.C.

Let me preface this by saying that I recently got out of the Army where I spent 10 years as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, the last 3 of which I was a Jumpmaster, so I do have some experience in this area. Last night, around 11:05pm, my wife and I were lying in bed watching television before going to sleep when we heard what sounded like a very low flying plane go overhead. I didn't get up to see, even though that is very odd where I live. I was still mulling it over 5-6 minutes later when it happened again and I noticed that it sounded like 2 military planes, one right after the other, flying at a low altitude. Because of the volume of the tv, they were already overhead by the time we heard them so I didn't get up that time either. I had a feeling that we were going to about them again in another few minutes so we turned the tv down. Sure enough, 5-6 minutes passed and we could hear them coming again. I ran out to the porch and what I saw creeped me out a little. I couldn't tell exactly what type of plane because I couldn't even see the silhouette against the sky, but they had their lights on so I was able to roughly see the size. From the that and the sound my guess is that I was looking at 2 C-17's, one right after the other separated by 10-12 seconds, flying about 1200-1500ft AGL (above ground level). My experience tells me that this was a textbook training run for dropping paratroopers because they dropped to jump height for the same area three times looping around twice to do so. That's called race-tracking. Two C-17's, one after another, flying at 1200-1500ft AGL, making three passes would allow you to get over 200 troopers on the ground in minutes and that's a force to be reckoned with. What worried me is that with only a 5-6 minute race-track, the drop zone must be very close to where I live. The thing is, there are no training areas out here. The only place they would be jumping into is "private" land. If there are any airmen out there who know of a different drill that involves these same tactics, please let me know, because I have never seen it done other than for a drop. Keep in mind also that this is 40-50 miles from the nearest installation and they've never used this area out here for training.

Oct 30, 2013

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