Rescue jumpmaster course drops into Atterbury

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Story and photos by Michael Maddox, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

Kentucky Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Travis Brown, 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Louisville, Ky., drifts down to Larkin drop zone June 8 during the Precision Rescue Jumpmaster Course recently conducted at Camp Atterbury. (Photo by Michael Maddox, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs)

CAMP ATTERBURY, In. — Time is a factor in any situation where injured casualties are involved. Getting to the injured person as quick as possible so they can be treated can mean the difference between life and death. This difference is what drives the Precision Jumpmaster to be the most prepared he or she can for any possible situation.

Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Louisville, Ky., recently reinforced this idea as airmen from the 123rd STS and the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., conduct the land portion of the Precision Rescue Jumpmaster Course at Larkin Drop Zone on Camp Atterbury June 6 -16.

Master Sgt. Joseph Youdell, a pararescue instructor with the 123rd STS, said time and precision are everything for the rescue jumpmaster.

“When we deploy to different locations around the world, we have all the equipment for us to respond with fixed wing aircraft like C-130s to get to any situation very fast,” he said. “Whether it’s a vessel out at sea or a plane crash over land like in a remote area like jungle, we can respond quickly to it and get the team out of the aircraft effectively and in close proximity to what the target area is.”

Youdell added, the airmen in class have to land in targets that are about 10 meters in size. And this had to be done in a variety of jump scenarios.

“This encompasses everything from low altitude static line, round parachutes out of fixed wing C-130s to static line square canopies out of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. We also do other high-altitude jumps like military free fall parachuting,” Youdell said.

Students and instructors in the Precision Rescue Jumpmaster Course load up on a C-130 that will take them up for their next drop June 13. The course, which was taught by Kentucky Air National Guardsmen from the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Louisville, Ky., emphasized the importance of being able to drop military members into various emergency situations. (Photo by Michael Maddox, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs)

He said planning for accuracy is key to making sure the future jumpmasters will always be on target.

“Rescue jumpmastering is basically another technique of jumpmastering where you use wind drift indicators that you drop out of the airplane to figure out what the drift is going to be,” Youdell said. “They can accurately depict what the wind drift will be on the canopies, so they give you a real-time estimate of what the wind is doing so you can show up on scene at a close proximity to where the target is.”

Besides completing land based jumps, the students will also have to do jumps into bodies of water.

“After we get done here at Atterbury, we are going to Michigan where we are doing what they call open target. This is where the target with either be a boat out there or a person and a one-man life raft. We have to get a team with one of our boats out of the back of the airplane down to them,” Youdell explained.

Master Sgt. Cory Kuttie, 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., said he can see the benefit of the training and what he’s learned in the course.

An airman with the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., pops his chute June 8 after jumping from a C-130 during the Precision Rescue Jumpmaster Course conducted at Camp Atterbury June 6 - 16. The course, which was taught by Kentucky Air National Guardsmen from the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Louisville, Ky., emphasized the importance of being able to drop military members into various emergency situations. (Photo by Michael Maddox, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs)

“As a precision jumpmaster, I need to put a guy right where I want him to land so that if you are trying to pick up a survivor, you don’t have to waste time trying to walk or run. That can make a big difference,” said Kuttie, a Cocoa Beach, Fla. native.

Staff Sgt. George Reed, 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., said the course has been challenging.

“It’s a fast paced course and has a high learning curve. We had a week of ground training the week before we got here to help mitigate that,” said Reed. “But even then you just have to be able to go at it for long hours.”

Reed, a Carrollton, Ohio native who’s been jumping for more than two-and-a-half years, said while jumping from a plane may not be for everyone, don’t necessarily count it out.

“If you see people jumping and you feel the urge to do it, definitely give it a shot,” he said. “If the little voice inside you is saying, ‘Yeah, I’m kind of interested.’ I’d say go for it.”

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