My husband was in 101st Fort Campbell. August 16 was National Airborne Day. Once he told me his first night jump made his heart beat fast--scary sh*t he said. Only time he ever admitted such a thing. During jump school they lost some--unanticipated strong ground cross wind.
And they had some tanglers.
I have to admit.....I had 87 jumps in 10 years, 86 of them were "night" jumps (eyes screwed shut!).
I had one in Germany where we were dropped out at 800 ft in high winds over an artillery impact area at night. The white lights were on in the aircraft, so we had no night vision...blind as bats. As soon as my chute opened, I lowered my rucksack. Instead if it jerking on my harness, it went "Plop". I went "Oh SH*T", and hit the ground. The winds drug my chute up one tree, and I was drug up the next tree. I managed to extricate myself and recover my ruck, but the chute was hopelessly entangled in the tree so I left it and made my way to the assembly area. On the way, I tripped over something that made a distinct metallic "clunk". I pulled out my flashlight and found that I had tripped over an inert artillery shell (whew....).
All-in-all, I made it out of there with a few bruises and bumps. Several others were injured. It was just a bad call to jump that night.
Now, Jump School had some crazy stunts. We had a SEAL Pup (Trainee) who cut away from his chute about 40ft above the ground. He landed in the muddy creek bed that goes through the middle of Fryar Drop Zone and broke 3 tarsal bones. He reminded me of a lawn jart.
For the graduation jump, parents and relatives were allowed to go to the drop zone and watch. One student decided that he was going to land as close to the roofed viewing pavilion as he could. Well, he did. He landed on top of the roof, did a parachute landing fall on the roof, then slid off and landed like a sack of dirty laundry on the ground. As he lay there moaning, out of the pavilion comes his dad, taking pictures of his son like any proud father would, telling everyone, "That's my son!" , "That's my son"!
We had a passage of rights called "Blood Wings" where the metal wings were attached to the uniform, and the Black Hats (instructors)would punch the new paratrooper in the chest to "pin" the wings into them. One trooper wanted it done in front of his family by the 1SG, so the 1SG obligingly pinned the wings on his uniform and punched the kid in the chest. The kid passed out..........................