Sunday, February 12, 2006

Don Morris, I Kicked you in the Head and for that I am Sorry




I’m usually pretty honest about things. I don’t lie because I think that it is wrong and I’m pretty bad at it. However omission is something entirely different.

About 17 years ago when I was in the Army we were returning from a field exercise from Germany. We were set to jump back in a small-scale tactical airborne operation. As most of you know some years back I was a paratrooper.

I was normally nervous or scared on all of the jumps, but on this jump in particular I was more nervous than normal. It was my last jump and I was scheduled to end my tour of service with the military. Nobody wants to die on their last jump.

Troops are placed 64 at a time onto the C-130s, half on one side and half on the other. I was the last man on my side of the plane, which meant I was going to be the first to jump. Looking across the ramp I saw my good friend Don Morris was also the last man on his side of the plane.

Standard procedure is for the person on the right side of the plane to exit upon seeing the light and the person on the left is to be slapped on the back of the leg by the jumpmaster.

The light went green and out of my excitement and nervousness I just jumped out into the void. I was on the left side of the aircraft, I was supposed to have waited.

Mid air it felt like I slammed into a car. Something hit me on my lower back and I felt the back of my boot ricochet off of something. The main chute then deployed and the noise and frenzy of the fall transitioned into silence as I floated to earth with an easy landing.

When I looked over my good friend Don was sitting up, hunched over and bleeding from his nose and mouth. His rucksack was still attached to his reserve parachute. He failed to deploy it prior to the landing, resulting in an even rougher landing than usual.

“Dude, are you okay, what happened?” I knowingly asked having just put everything together in my mind.

“I don’t know, something hit me up there.”

“Sorry about that, ” I said as I slinked away.

Unfortunately Don was the first man out of the right side of the plane. He did the right thing and jumped as soon as the red light turned green. Because I was overly hyped out in the moment I did not do what I was suppose to do. We exited the aircraft simultaneously and slammed mid air underneath the C-130.

I feel bad. I do feel sorry. I never told him.

Maybe someday he’ll just read the blog.

3 comments:

Mr. Middlebrow said...

According to my site traffic meter, someone from Oklahoma visited my blog by way of the link on yours.

Wasn't Don from OK?

'Someday' might be sooner than you think...

Ed said...

A wave of anxiety rushed over me as soon as I read your comment. The same feeling that you get when you've packed the kids and the luggage in your car and are down the road 250 miles and you think that you forget your wallet.
Then I remembered that Kurt Kaya, author of "Yet Another Small Town Moment" who reads my blog and probably yours. So for the moment, I live.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Sorry for the sphincter-pucker; I forgot about okdad.