I’m a towed Jumper, cut me free……… An essay by William Marshall

It started with 10 minutes, then Get Ready. Outboard personnel stand up got the sleeping bag zipper pulled all the way up, Inboard personnel stand up began the rope and 100 mph tape tied around my feet. Sound off for equipment check was rough. They all hit me with their fists and yelling, OK, OK, OK, as they were dragging me toward the door. All OK Jumpmaster, someone yelled as they hoisted me out onto the balcony of the WWII barracks in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. I was upside down as the green light lit and they lowered me down a bit. I was hanging about 15 feet above the ground in my sleeping bag. Blood rushed to my 19-year-old head. The snow was on the ground, but it wouldn’t have cushioned my fall much. The MPs were in the first floor below us, they were pointing and laughing. Suddenly I was a towed jumper. My head was just inches off the ground now. They had lowered me most of the way. My buddy Matthews was on the ground next to me. He said, “Yell up to them. I’m a towed jumper, cut me free.” As I did they dropped me on my head. The rope fell all over me and around me. Matthews and Coon drug me into the wet snowy ditch and left me there. The water soaked through my sleeping bag. I jumped up and bunny hopped back to the steps. Matthews helped me take the rope and stuff off. As I climbed the stairs coming back into the barracks, lights were out and all were sleeping. My squad leader poked his head out of the NCO room. “You alright Marshall?” “Yes, Sergeant.” I replied. He just nodded and closed the door. Guess that was my cherry party. I was a towed jumper.

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