“If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you”

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On November 28, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg welcomed everyone to the regular Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. After the usual opening announcements, he called on fellow member Bob L’Etoile to introduce his good friend and club member Jim Jones.

Jim admits he is 73 years young and has lived in Thailand for over 8 years. He is a US Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and received two purple hearts, which are awarded for wounds received in combat. After his military service, he spent 30 years in the construction field, which included 3 years working in Kuwait, Israel, Egypt, and Jamaica. Bob said that Jim’s nickname is “Rev” alluding to a certain infamous reverend of the same name.

Speaker of the Day, longtime PCEC member and Pattaya resident Jim Jones (aka ‘The Rev’), who received two Purple Hearts while serving with the US Marines in Vietnam, shares his ‘Adventures with a Parachute’ - on his five tandem and single solo parachute jumps. Speaker of the Day, longtime PCEC member and Pattaya resident Jim Jones (aka ‘The Rev’), who received two Purple Hearts while serving with the US Marines in Vietnam, shares his ‘Adventures with a Parachute’ – on his five tandem and single solo parachute jumps.

Jim said that several friends bought him a certificate for a skydiving venture as a birthday gift.  So, on his 60th birthday, Jim decided to do a tandem parachute jump from 10,000 feet. He remarked that this was quite an adrenalin rush. So, he decided that he wanted to continue with this exciting sport.  In all, he did 5 tandem jumps and one solo jump.  Jim said that in making the jump, you could use a static line, which pulls the ripcord automatically when you jump from the airplane.  However, he chose to jump, dive, and then pull the rip cord at about 5,000 feet.  Jim said that on this first jump, another jumper recorded it on video and on his solo jump, it was videotaped from the ground.

As the video was played for the audience with the sound being the theme from Mission Impossible, Jim began to narrate his great adventure. He described the aircraft and identified himself and his instructor (yes, he did need to identify himself as he did look different wearing a big moustache). He explained how the jump was made when the aircraft reached 10,000 feet – he and the instructor were together as they dived toward the ground. When the chute opened, Jim’s feet suddenly went upwards. Jim explained that the instructor, thinking that he, Jim, might not pull the rip cord did it for him. This caught him by surprise so he wasn’t quite prepared and his feet went flying upwards when the canopy opened and slowed the descent.

Jim pointed out on a shot of the ground the small landing area on the airport near Springfield, Illinois. He also noted that on their jump, they did descend through a cloud layer, which he found out later you were not supposed to do.  Jim then explained that the next video would be of his solo jump when his chute malfunctioned. Jim noted that for solo jumps, they used a different landing area, which was more open. Although his chute malfunctioned and he didn’t land where he was supposed to, he did manage to land safely in a nearby cornfield, belonging to the local sheriff and was met by many people and emergency equipment.

Due to some technical difficulties, the video showing his solo jump would not play. Jim promised that he would bring it back for a second feature at a later date.  During the question and answer session, Jim was asked about other solo jumps. Jim’s response was after the one and having the malfunction, he decided it was time to give up skydiving and move on to something else.

In concluding the meeting, Richard updated everyone on upcoming events in and around Pattaya and called on Judith Edmonds to conduct the always informative and sometimes humorous Open Forum, where questions about living in Thailand and Pattaya in particular are asked and answered.

* Headline quote attributed to General Arthur McAuliff.