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SF Alpha Geek: Jumping With The Brits

"Remember, if the fooking cable breaks and I tell you to go, don't bother looking around and asking 'Pardon?', because you'll fooking be talking to yourself!"
...yelled the instructor as Special Forces Alpha Geek was about to jump from a hydrogen balloon over a field in Britain. It wasn't that that the balloon was filled with hydrogen (remember Hindenburg?), but the 600' cable that kept it anchored to the ground could possibly fail. The balloon then had a tendency to rise very sharply into the air, and it would be wise to jump before your low-altitude jump turned into a stratosphere jump.

This month, SF Alpha Geek is running a little mini-series on his experiences in jumping with the British Airborne (part one, interlude, and two).

It's a hilarious account on the differences between training with the 82nd Airborne, on the Special Forces Q-course, and with the British - who, for unknown reasons, insist on handing out lemon drinks and cookies before each jump.

I don't think I was ever cut out to be in the military - or at least not in the Airborne infantry - but it sure makes for fun reading; if not for all the cultural differences. For instance, while the Americans (as seen on Band Of Brothers) perform all kinds of equipment checks and get warnings at different intervals, the British simply yell out "Action Stations" and then "Go, go, go"; adhering to the belief that "you rigged it, you ride it", and if you choose to fall a thousand feet to the ground because you didn't pack your parachute correctly, it's your problem.


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