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Taking the jump with Single Airmen Initiatives program

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The roar of the plane's engine was so load that we strained our voices as we tried to talk. Finally, we gave up all together and remained silent. The small plane moved in circles like a spiral staircase as it ascended into the sky until it reached 10,000 feet. Suddenly, it became quiet.  The engine had been cut off.  As the instructors opened the plane's door, the deafening sound of the wind whipped through the plane.

I had been excited about skydiving, but when the plane's door opened, reality set in and I became terrified. I watched one instructor and the Airman before me scoot near the opened door and within seconds they were gone.

"C'mon, it's our turn," my instructor said as he nudged me toward the door. He locked my safety harness to his and began counting, "One, two, three."  Adrenaline was coursing through my veins and despite the instinct to hold on, I let go and began my descent toward the earth.

The cold air whipped at my face and body so hard I had the sensation that I couldn't breathe. Finally, after what felt like forever my tandem instructor pulled the parachute cord, violently jerking us up.  Afterward, we began slowing down. Being in the parachute was like being in a giant baby swing thousands of feet in the air.

I wanted to get down as fast as possible, but at the same time I was enjoying the view. We soared through the sky and swirled through the clouds.  The thrilling part of falling fast to earth was over, and now I was enjoying the peaceful ride down. A few moments later I was sliding across the grass in a field, and my trip was over.

I have always been one for thrills, running to the largest roller coasters, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  A roller coaster will never satisfy my adrenaline rush ever again.

Skydiving has always been on my bucket list, but thought it would be too expensive to do.  I didn't realized how affordable it would be to do until I heard of the Single Airman Initiatives program.

The Single Airmen Initiatives program is sponsored by the 42nd Force Support Squadron's Outdoor Recreation Center.  They host trips and activities at extremely low prices and give young single Airmen first priority to sign up as a means for them to meet other young Airmen, enjoy themselves and get off base.

Whether skydiving is on their bucket list or not, I encourage young Airmen to take advantage of the program and see what adventure awaits them.   It is also a great way for Airmen new to the area to meet other Airmen with like interests.

To learn more, call the Outdoor Recreation Center at 953-3509.