Would you freefall with one of these men?

Would you freefall with one of these men?

Post by Richard Murna » Sat, 13 Jul 1991 10:38:19

The following is a brief extract from the book "One Crowded Hour:
Neil Davis, Combat Cameraman, 1934-1985", by Tim Bowden...

   There are many stories about the Gurkhas and their
   attitudes to combat, but one of the most famous actually
   took place in Borneo while I [Davis] was there, and was told to
   me with great gusto by a British Gurkha officer.

   The Gurkhas were not trained as paratroopers, but
   were asked if they would be prepared to jump from a
   Hercules C130 transport aircraft into combat against the
   Indonesians if the need arose. The Gurkhas had the right
   to turn down this request because they had not been
   trained for this combat role.

   Now the Gurkhas usually agreed to anything, but on
   this occasion they provisionally rejected the plan. But
   the next day, one of their NCOs sought out the British
   officer who had made the request and said they had
   discussed the matter further and would be prepared to
   jump under certain conditions.

   "What are they?" asked the British officer.

   The Gurkhas told him they would jump if the land was
   marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky outcrops,
   because they were inexperienced in falling.

   The British officer considered this, and said that the
   dropping area would almost certainly be over jungle, and
   there would not be any rocky outcrops, so that seemed
   all right. Was there anything else?

   Yes, said the Gurkhas. They wanted the plane to fly as
   slowly as possible and no more than one hundred feet
   high. The British pointed out that the planes always did
   fly as slowly as possible when dropping troops, but to
   jump from one hundred feet was impossible, because the
   parachutes would not open in time from that height.

   "Oh," said the Gurkhas, "that's all right then. We'll jump
   with parachutes anywhere. You didn't mention
   parachutes before!"


Richard P. Murnane                       Life's too short to waste time