Sergeant Takes a Nap
|from Will Kone, Sgt. 98th Div., 16 February 1998|
Sgt. Kable and I were going through Pathfinder school, where you do a LOT of parachute jumps, mostly at night. We were supposed to jump into an open field. But the C141 dropped up about 3km from our target, into a thick forest. That means a very painful landing. We expect this from the Air Force and had already spent time looking over maps of the surrounding area.
We jumped at 0200 with instructions to set up our LZ's and then regroup at a central point for pickup at 0530.
Sgt. Kable recounts this story: "I hit the trees and jerked short, got all tangled up in the branches. I could not reach any branches, or the trunk of the tree behind me. So to find out how high up I was, I pulled off my helmet, held it upside down in front of me and let go. I counted, 1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand, 4 thousand… shit thousand. No sound. Boy was I up high. It was so dark I could not even make out my boots. Well, nothing better to do than hang around, so I got as comfortable as I could and took a nap. I had set my watch alarm to 0430 before the jump, so I figured I would just sleep until then. It would be lighter and I could see my way down. I forgot that my watch was deep in my pocket, and I slept right through the muffled alarm. Next thing I hear is ‘Hey! Kable! Wake up!’ I started to move my head, but couldn't. I had the Wedgie from Hell from the jump harness, no feeling in my legs, and could not focus my eyes. After a second or two I got my eyes working. The sun was up and I saw my boots about three inches off the ground. I got my neck working and raised my head and found my helmet hanging from a branch by the chin strap."
From my point of view, at the rendezvous point, Kable was missing at 0540 so we headed out to look for him. Since I was the guy right behind him in our chalk, we made our way to my drop location. I came through the woods and saw his gear hanging from a tree branch before I saw him. I thought he had broken his neck until I saw him breathing. As I got closer I could hear that he was snoring slightly. He was a sight, hanging just a foot or so off the ground, his helmet gently hung from a branch before him, taking a nap.
Only in the Army would someone willingly jump into a forest at night, and after being caught in a tree, Not use a flashlight or call for help.