Falling with style

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Students of the Guardian Angel Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course perform a freefall jump over Marana, Ariz., Oct. 3, 2019. The training in the course includes teaching different jumping techniques, familiarizing jumpers with different pieces of equipment, executing the directing of jumpers to a designated release point and accomplishing two live jumps. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Blake J. Gonzales)

The Guardian Angel Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course was held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., from Sept. 16 to Oct. 4, 2019.

The course is a United States Department of Defense Special Operations Command accredited freefall jumpmaster course designed to train senior military parachutists on running a military parachute operation. The training includes teaching different jumping techniques, familiarizing jumpers with different pieces of equipment, executing the directing of jumpers to a designated release point and accomplishing two live jumps.

“The first two weeks are mostly academic weeks where they [students] learn everything they need to know to be freefall jumpmasters,” said Tech. Sgt. Joe Coleman, 68th Rescue Squadron NCO in charge of air operations. “The third week we actually have them in the aircraft, flying the aircraft from the jumpmaster’s perspective, as well as getting familiar with pilots and using the correct terminology which allows them to fulfill all the roles of a freefall jumpmaster.”

A student of the Guardian Angel Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course practices simulated emergency procedures during training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 27, 2019. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

This course is the only accredited one in the Air Force and only one of four in the DOD. This specific iteration, one of four held each year at Davis-Monthan, had 12 students from several different commands to include sister service members.

“We’ve had Army, Navy and Air Force come through this course from a wide range of career fields,” said Coleman. “If what they do is related to freefall or they need to be a jumpmaster, they have to come through this course.”

“Seeing the ways different guys function is always a good experience,” said a U.S. Air Force Pararescueman from the 58th Rescue Squadron. “We can always learn from sister services and even other major commands within the Air Force.”

Staff Sgt. Travis Holmes, 68th Rescue Squadron air operations instructor, shows a student how to use a piece of equipment during the Guardian Angel Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 27, 2019. This course is accredited by the United States Department of Defense Special Operations Command and is one of only four in the entire DOD. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

The 68 RQS began teaching the course in 2015 and has since generated over 150 accredited freefall jumpmasters.

“We hold this course to a very high standard,” said Coleman. “We want the students to leave here knowing that they can perform a freefall operation in a high stress environment and execute it flawlessly.”

This joint service training emphasizes Davis-Monthan’s commitment to building a stronger, more lethal force for not only the Air Force, but instead the entire DoD. By training these jumpmasters they are able to go out and better fulfill the mission and lead the next generation of jumpmasters and leaders.