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Machal Nachal Parachutist Course: by Mookie Tooch & Philip Myers  E-mail



The second Mahzor of S.A. boys have just completed their parachutist course in Imun Mitkadem and we thought it would be interesting to hear their reactions and their feelings after this first stage of their training. We got there about 3 hours after their first jump and took a few notes. The general atmosphere in the bungalow was one of suppressed animation and most of the fellows had a little expression of content on their faces. It must have been quite a relief after the strain and difficult training they had to go through before they jumped. Nachal training is at no time easy and not knowing what the next thing to be done is, makes the training even more trying and nerve racking. In this case, however, it was good to see that the boys had sparkle in their eyes and were eager to tell us all about it.

Putting the inevitable question to them, namely: "What sensation did you have while jumping?" I got a variety of replies ... terrific, fantastic, overrated..., I wish it was over, I'd rather jump for the rest of the training than go on sidra, they should give you a badge for every sidra rather than passing this course, I don't know what happened, I had my eyes closed and many similar answers.

Tackling each chaver in turn, I started by questioning David. Small and acrobatic, I asked him when first he felt nervous. David:      "I really was looking forward to it so much that the only time I really got nervous was when my turn came at the door. None of the other boys had hesitated so I also took the plunge. It's the greatest feeling I've ever had when my chute opened. The noise had all died away and everything was serene and peaceful. My next object was to get as close to the "T" as possible and with a bit of manipulation I dropped within 5 meters of it. Contact with the ground was no more than jumping off a bed and I even managed to get in a perfect gilgul.

"(somersault)". At this stage I had to interrupt him just as he was starting on the technicalities of how a chute opens, at what weight the strings break, etc.

The next person I spoke to was our old acquaintance, Victor. Vic had that glint in his eye that already told half the story and all I had to say was Nu to bring forth a string of adjectives "wonderful, marvelous, superb and much like". Incidentally, Vic made the most of his first jump and even managed to take a photograph of himself. Needless to say he didn't quite manage to get in the perfect gilgul.
Not so pleased with the whole affair was Stan. Stan was a bit reserved with his statements and we soon found out why. "The feeling once the chute opens is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had, but I suddenly saw the ground coming up fast and I found myself landing in amongst a clump of bushes. I got up to run round my chute but found the thing stuck above my head which meant hard work taking it down. Let's hope it goes better tomorrow".

During this time the boys were walking in and out all the time going to lectures (and bunking them) and also visiting the Marpeah. The chief of these cases was Sam. Sam would be out of action for a while. Sam undaunted was working out ways of how not to land on his hurt foot. Baruch, the youngest of the S.A. boys could hardly believe that this was finally "it". Now a few hours after the jumps he was pretty bucked up and looking forward to the rest of the jumps. We saw and spoke to most of the other boys, Shoshie, Irish, Irvine, Barry, Benny, Ruby and all had very much the same to say about the terrific feeling of getting away from the noise of the plane and the blast of the wind and being almost unconscious until the chute opens "you seem to remain on one spot and then float gently down to mother earth".