St. Michael anniversary celebratory jump
American, French, Japanese and Italian forces performed a static line jump near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti Oct. 1.
The jump was in celebration for the Feast Day of Archangel Michael, the patron saint of paratroopers.
"St. Michael’s day is an opportunity for us to jump with our coalition partners," said Maj. Matthew Fraley, operations officer in charge, Bravo Company, 404th Civil Affairs battalion. “The Airborne community and paratroopers as a whole, are really a small community and a small subset of soldiers, sailors, marines and airman around the world, and because of that brotherhood and that esprit de corps, actually brings all of us together.”
A static line parachute jump involves a day's training for certified parachutist, going over parachute procedures to prepare in cases of emergency. A static line is a cord attached at one end to the aircraft and at the other end to the top of the jumper's deployment bag. The parachutist's fall from the aircraft causes the static line to become taut, pulling the deployment bag out of the container on the jumper's back.
The static line and deployment bag stay with the aircraft as the jumper leaves, and is pulled back into the aircraft by the dispatcher. The canopy inflates as the jumper continues to fall. Effectively, the jumper drags the parachute behind him, causing the upward-rushing wind to force open and inflate the canopy.
The canopy inflates and begins supporting the jumper within four seconds. In the unlikely event of a malfunction, jumpers are taught how to cut away the main canopy and deploy their reserve chute. The aim of static line progression is to train students to maintain the correct stable body position upon exiting the aircraft and to teach how to deploy the canopy via the pilot chute mechanism.
The jump was coordinated by the French forces in Djibouti.
“The St. Michael’s jump and the opportunity to jump with our coalition partners, with the help of the French for planning all this, really brings us all together in one place and it’s a great opportunity with our coalition partners to come together and to jump together,” said Fraley.
After the jump, all coalition forces went to the French base to attend Roman Catholic Mass, to further celebrate St. Michael’s feast day. From Mass, the jumpers went to a small ceremony on the French base where a few jumpers received their French jump wings, which French jumpmasters pinned on.
This is not the first time the French have coordinated a jump with coalition partners. In June this year the French invited coalition forces to jump with them in celebration of the 74th year anniversary of D-Day, when American forces parachuted into Normandy, France.