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Thread: Jump School Today

  1. #1
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    Default Jump School Today

    Back when I was at Bragg I used to enjoy stopping by Ft. Benning on my way home (just outside Ft. Rucker, AL) on leave and watching the kids go through their paces at Jump School. Living just over 100 miles from Bennng I've had the opportunity to go back and visit several times, most recently to help my nephew "turn blue" last fall.

    The one thing I've noticed during my last few visits is that the old alma mater doesn't seem as busy these past couple years as it used to be. When I went through (and for years before and after) you used to almost be able to set your watch by the school's training schedule. I knew if I was passing through post on a Monday I could go by the old Ground Committee and see the guys doing their first PLFs or go by Tower Committee and maybe see them practicing mass exits from the 34 ft towers depending on what time it was. I also knew that weather permitting chances were a drive out to Fryar Field would let you see jumps on Mondays through Wednesdays. Thursdays and maybe Fridays it was 250 ft Towers. The last few times I've passed through it's pretty much been dead over there, 'don't know if it's I've just hit at the wrong times or if they've changed up the schedule. Someone told me the school doesn't go by the old Zero-Week, Ground Week, Tower Week, Jump Week schedule anymore. I'd like to know (without jeopardizing National Security) how the course is run now.

    Another question I have is whether or not the school is still tough or not. When I went through we lost about two hundred the first day from the PT Test and I don't know how many were forced out through Break Area Procedures and other fun and games. What's it like now?

    I can't question the quality of the product, these young troops serving today are doing a superb job, just want to know out of curiosity what the course is like. Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Based on my time there as Tower Branch Chief, HHC CDR, and during my last visit to pin my originally issued jump wings on my nephew when he graduated the BAC, schedules are often 'slipped' when factors such as weather and class size/capability are applied, and when 'other' requirements periodically take precedence. I would chalk your concerns up to a matter of timing as much as anything else.

    And so it goes...

    Purple

    "Don't let yourself get treed by a Chihuahua."

    "SF doesn't do harassment. No encouragement; no discouragement. You cannot be in SF if you do not set your own standards. Nobody sets it for you. They just watch what you do. If you rest when you should be working, if you drink when you should be humping, if you let your buddy carry a load too heavy for him - you're gone. No questions, just you're gone. They don't need you."

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    When I went through in '04 it was still a lil tough. The Black Hats got their smoke on, and very much enjoyed pitting the new infantry guys like myself against the BUD/S grads in pushup contests. That being said it wasn't the toughest training I've went through, but it wasn't a cakewalk. Plenty of people got recycled/dropped for PT tests and such.

    Had lots of fun though. One of the courses I am most proud of in my career so far, and I got my wings from my Dad, who came down to pin me and watch me jump. Actually got a picture of my first jump.
    "It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Well men . . . let me see your hearts. Victory is waiting for you."

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    I wonder what the attrition rate is today. When I went through they told us we dropped about two hundred the first day due to the PT Test. I know there was a bunch of them didn't pass.Then during malfunction class on Friday afternoon of Tower Week we were told to look around, out of the class of 650 who started two weeks before there were about three hundred not there (including those who failed the PT test), the others had recycled, been dropped due to injuries, or quit; we on the other hand had survived to make our first jump on Monday. I don't know if the guy was blowing smoke to motivate us or not, but I know a lot of guys were dropping during the course. Right after the PT Test we had a bunch who quit during Break Area Procedures. The only ones (and we had guys from all branches of service) who were having a great time were the three SEALs in our class who had just finished BUDs. I realize now they were just finishing nine months of hell while the rest of us were just beginning our odysseys to elite status.

    As a school teacher I had a lot of students who went airborne (didn't listen to a thing I said or maybe listened too well) and came back telling me they were disappointed because they had actually hoped the training would be tougher. I thought some of the younger guys could fill me in a bit. Just curious.

    My nephew was hoping to go airborne and ranger, but didn't listen to either me or his dad and didn't get it in his contract. I always tell the kids (relatives and students) to walk if they don't give you exactly what you want carved in stone no matter what kind of guilt trip they put you on. He was trying to volunteer for jump school all through his basic and Infantry School but from what he tells me and what I could learn doing research trying to help him do it appears one of the ways the Army is controlling dropouts and failures is in better screening of candidates to go. At least that's what it seems from what I was able to glean. But I'd still like to know from someone who's been through recently.

    I bought a DVD of Jump School during a visit to Benning a few years back. Basically it was home video of the guys going through their motions to a musical sound track. It was fun watching some of the training, PLFs, Suspended Agony, the towers, but I couldn't get over the comparatively relaxed pace at which everyone seemed to be moving compared to how I remember it. We were constantly pushing Ft. Benning into Alabama and back or "beating our boots" because we were "Moving like pond water and pond water don't move!!!" Maybe, I told myself, the blackhats were being good for the cameras. It's like a tv show I watched on Basic Training a few years back. I asked myself, were things that laid back or were the DIs just being good for the cameras? Again, would like to hear from those who've been through recently. Again, whatever they're doing must be working, I know the change in my nephew and have nothing but praise for the young men and women serving today. Just curious.

    So, Purple, what you're saying is the school is still more or less on the three-phase system? Thanks for the info.

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    A few comments.

    Weather often dictates the pace at which the BAC operates from class to class, and too hot, too wet, too windy, or too cold can really affect that pace - what time of the year you're there is a factor as all of the training is conducted outdoors.

    Historically, with class sizes ranging to somewhere between 450 -1400 "Joes" per week, the attrition rate has remained fairly steady at around 25% with an annual input of 25k for a graduation rate of around 18k per year.

    The BAC is a skills and personal leadership enhancing course and, in spite of the perception, the instructors are not trying to fail you - you set yourself up to fail by not being physically or mentally prepared for the demands of the program.

    The 'reportable' injury rate in the BAC historically averaged 0.005 - that is, 5 reportable injuries out of every 1,000 jumps. I suspect it is still pretty close to that today.

    The BAC is not the toughest school in the military, but it is one of the most sought after challenges and memorable accomplishments of any who attempt it.

    I suspect Con50582 will add to this discusssion when he gets a free moment.

    And so it goes...

    Purple

    "Don't let yourself get treed by a Chihuahua."

    "SF doesn't do harassment. No encouragement; no discouragement. You cannot be in SF if you do not set your own standards. Nobody sets it for you. They just watch what you do. If you rest when you should be working, if you drink when you should be humping, if you let your buddy carry a load too heavy for him - you're gone. No questions, just you're gone. They don't need you."

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Purple View Post
    A few comments.

    Weather often dictates the pace at which the BAC operates from class to class, and too hot, too wet, too windy, or too cold can really affect that pace - what time of the year you're there is a factor as all of the training is conducted outdoors.

    Historically, with class sizes ranging to somewhere between 450 -1400 "Joes" per week, the attrition rate has remained fairly steady at around 25% with an annual input of 25k for a graduation rate of around 18k per year.

    The BAC is a skills and personal leadership enhancing course and, in spite of the perception, the instructors are not trying to fail you - you set yourself up to fail by not being physically or mentally prepared for the demands of the program.

    The 'reportable' injury rate in the BAC historically averaged 0.005 - that is, 5 reportable injuries out of every 1,000 jumps. I suspect it is still pretty close to that today.

    The BAC is not the toughest school in the military, but it is one of the most sought after challenges and memorable accomplishments of any who attempt it.

    I suspect Con50582 will add to this discusssion when he gets a free moment.

    And so it goes...

    Purple
    Great explanation as usual Purple! AATW!
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    Black Hat: You will immediately deploy your reserve parachute.
    Student: What if my reserve parachute doesn't open?
    Black Hat: You have the rest of your Airborne life to think about it.

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Quote Originally Posted by jumpers-hit-it View Post
    When I went through in '04 it was still a lil tough. The Black Hats got their smoke on, and very much enjoyed pitting the new infantry guys like myself against the BUD/S grads in pushup contests. That being said it wasn't the toughest training I've went through, but it wasn't a cakewalk. Plenty of people got recycled/dropped for PT tests and such.

    Had lots of fun though. One of the courses I am most proud of in my career so far, and I got my wings from my Dad, who came down to pin me and watch me jump. Actually got a picture of my first jump.
    When in '04 were you there? I was there in July '04. I don't remember any BUD/S grads, but there were a few Marines that passed the PT test. Several Marines failed the PT test because they were used to doing crunches and not full sit ups, or their push ups weren't to the Black Hat standards. I graduated OSUT and in-processed at BAC on the same day and it seemed like a vacation just because once released for the day, we were allowed to leave post every day!! The Black Hats in my platoon were great, firm but fair, game smoke sessions when it seemed warranted, but the other platoon seemed to be always getting the shit smoked out of them for no apparent reason so my experience seemed much easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Purple View Post
    ...

    The BAC is a skills and personal leadership enhancing course and, in spite of the perception, the instructors are not trying to fail you - you set yourself up to fail by not being physically or mentally prepared for the demands of the program.

    The 'reportable' injury rate in the BAC historically averaged 0.005 - that is, 5 reportable injuries out of every 1,000 jumps. I suspect it is still pretty close to that today.

    The BAC is not the toughest school in the military, but it is one of the most sought after challenges and memorable accomplishments of any who attempt it.

    I suspect Con50582 will add to this discusssion when he gets a free moment.

    And so it goes...

    Purple
    There were many PT failures, and most of them had already been in the Military for a while. There seemed to be many injuries in our 5 jumps. A couple guys I knew from OSUT got hurt, one snapped his leg in two. BAC definitely did not seem too tough, but at the same time there were people dropping the course for whatever reason all the time.

    I'm also curious to what Con50582 has to say...

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    The course itself wasn't tough. The PT was tough for many. I was kind of used to it coming from Bragg, even though I'd been in a leg unit, our officers tried to keep up with the airborne units on post where that was concerned. It was mainly the harassment, the constant being dropped for pushups or beating your boots for not being fast enough or loud enough. I remember one Marine Corporal that failed the PT test. He was lagging behind on the two-mile run (then done in combat boots) and I tried to pace him. He said the blackhat smoked him on the pushups, I'll never forget him saying, "The first 45 were easy, it was the second and third set of 45 pushups I had to do that got me." I don't know how many pushups or situps I had to do to get 45 "perfect" pushups to pass I did myself. Anyway we were on the last lap of the run and running out of time when I realized if I stayed with him I was going to fail, so I apologized and he nodded understanding, I think I sprinted the last lap to make it right under the gun. I felt sorry for the poor guy; there was a small group of Marines who had failed the test being chewed out by their liaison officer for disgracing the Corps as we were double-timed to break area procedures.

    We lost a bunch more during break area procedures as the blackhats dogged us, dropped us for pushups for not moving fast enough or sounding off loud enough or recovering fast enough for their satisfaction. This was in June and the heat and humidity devastating. I remember a kid who'd made the mistake of getting an airborne tattoo before jump school. The first day at PT the blackhats were all over him, by Wednesday at Ground Week they'd harassed him so badly he dropped. I've often wondered about him, going through life with an airborne tattoo and being a Jump School dropout. Then there were the showers in the summer to cool us down. No, Jump School isn't the toughest course in the military. But as the gateway for most of the elite outfits in our military (as I said, only the SEALs seemed to be enjoying themselves) it had a way of separating the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares. After all, would we wear our wings so proudly if EVERYONE could get them?

    I'm just wondering what it's like now.
    "The sky, even more than the sea, is unforgiving of the slightest mistake."


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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    It is called Basic Airborne Course for a reason has always been my opnion. While it was challenging while going through the course the real training began in my unit. That is the way I always thought about it. Those that fell out for whatever reason during whichever reason other than medical just did not have the heart for it to begin with.

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    I have to agree there, Rocket. I used to tell my kids who were going it was about 75% mental, 25% physical. But that's one of the things I think they were trying to teach us, we could do almost anything if we set our heads and hearts to it.
    "The sky, even more than the sea, is unforgiving of the slightest mistake."


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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Old All American View Post
    We lost a bunch more during break area procedures as the blackhats dogged us, dropped us for pushups for not moving fast enough or sounding off loud enough or recovering fast enough for their satisfaction. This was in June and the heat and humidity devastating. I remember a kid who'd made the mistake of getting an airborne tattoo before jump school. The first day at PT the blackhats were all over him, by Wednesday at Ground Week they'd harassed him so badly he dropped. I've often wondered about him, going through life with an airborne tattoo and being a Jump School dropout. Then there were the showers in the summer to cool us down. No, Jump School isn't the toughest course in the military. But as the gateway for most of the elite outfits in our military (as I said, only the SEALs seemed to be enjoying themselves) it had a way of separating the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares. After all, would we wear our wings so proudly if EVERYONE could get them?

    I'm just wondering what it's like now.
    This sounds like some of the incidents in my class during June '72. I guess there was somebody who got an Airborne tattoo too early and then tried to hide it; didn't work. One of our blackhats was an R. Lee Ermey type NCO, to give you an idea. One guy in our class in the upstairs barracks laid down in his bunk and fell asleep after breakfast chow. We heard, "At ease!" downstairs and stood by our bunks. Our blackhat went straight to the guys bunk and got in face, "Good morning, sweetheart...good morning, sweetheart..." This E2 opened his eyes in shock and jumped out of his bunk. The blackhat said, "That's the sloppeist F-in' bunk I've ever seen...", and dumped it on the floor. That E2 went AWOL shortly afterwards and that was the end of his jump school. That is one jump school moment I'll never forget.

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Weazle23 View Post
    When in '04 were you there? I was there in July '04. I don't remember any BUD/S grads, but there were a few Marines that passed the PT test. Several Marines failed the PT test because they were used to doing crunches and not full sit ups, or their push ups weren't to the Black Hat standards. I graduated OSUT and in-processed at BAC on the same day and it seemed like a vacation just because once released for the day, we were allowed to leave post every day!! The Black Hats in my platoon were great, firm but fair, game smoke sessions when it seemed warranted, but the other platoon seemed to be always getting the shit smoked out of them for no apparent reason so my experience seemed much easier.


    There were many PT failures, and most of them had already been in the Military for a while. There seemed to be many injuries in our 5 jumps. A couple guys I knew from OSUT got hurt, one snapped his leg in two. BAC definitely did not seem too tough, but at the same time there were people dropping the course for whatever reason all the time.

    I'm also curious to what Con50582 has to say...

    I graduated 1 Oct 04, a class later than what I should've graduated. Due to my own faults, I was PT recycle. I did not do the pushups in the PT test to standard; so I recycled, and while waiting for the next class to start worked on making sure my pushups were to standard. There were 3 or 4 BUD/S guys in my class, one got recycled/sent home in jump week. We were rigged up, sitting, waiting (what seemed like forever) to get on the plane and one of the Navy guys kept talking after the Black Hats repeatedly told everyone to shut up.
    "It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Well men . . . let me see your hearts. Victory is waiting for you."

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    All this has reminded me of what one of the blackhats told us toward the end of Tower Week, he told us that about half of us would get our tails kicked within two weeks of graduating Jump School because we thought we were so bad, but he told us we hadn't done a thing, the REAL test was coming - that was serving in an airborne unit. Thinking about the number of terminees we had over the years, he had a point. I remember in legland we often got terminees from the Division. Most of these guys were pretty good soldiers by regular Army standards but they couldn't (or chose not to) hack it in the Division.
    "The sky, even more than the sea, is unforgiving of the slightest mistake."


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    People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf- George Orwell

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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Old All American View Post
    he told us we hadn't done a thing, the REAL test was coming - that was serving in an airborne unit.
    Yep, we were told we were Airborne Qualified, not Paratroopers yet. I took that to heart and it was true, the harder training was yet to come.
    OSUT Ft. Benning (Harmony Church), June - Sept 1985 D/10/2
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    Default Re: Jump School Today

    ^that.
    "It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Well men . . . let me see your hearts. Victory is waiting for you."

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