Day 1 was an airborne operation into Pappy Tidwell drop zone near Harrisburg, PA. I'm not going to lie, I totally thought we were jumping into Gettysburg rather than 25 miles to the north. I actually didn't figure that fact out until later, but we'll get to that.
FINALLY, I get to jump out!!! All I can think about is the fresh air and hitting the ground so I can roll over and pee! (Did I mention I was in the plane for nearly 5 hours??) Then the cross winds hit me, my feet are blown above my head and all I can think about is how in the world am I gonna hit the TINY drop zone below me?? It's so dang small!! I'm now thinking I'm gonna end up on a highway somewhere, when I hear some shouting from behind me. I turn my head to see what's going on and immediately turn back around 'cause I do not want to see what's going on... A parachute is screaming across the drop zone right at me!! I know I'm supposed to turn away from other jumpers, but I have no idea which way to turn or if I even can in time. I yell for him to turn left and I turn right, hoping beyond hope that he does go left... the next thing I feel is what I can only imagine is a parachute canopy sliding across mine... then it was gone. Now, I'm back to trying to hit the ground somewhere near the drop zone and going pee... 'cause now I really have to go! I get all ready to land... hit the ground... (feet, shoulder, head) get my chute collapsed... roll over to take a knee to pee and look up at the female combat camera photographer shooting away!! So much for going pee!!!
Still, it was a great jump (the jumping part, not so much the getting there part) and definitely not an experience many get to partake in. That night we went to dinner at the Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg. Very tasty. Then sleep... I had a very big day the next day!