By Dahncye Baucom, 7th SFG(A).
Soldiers and Airmen participated in a four weeklong jumpmaster course on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 2-27, 2023. Jumpmaster school prepares students for precision parachute and airborne operations. The course consists of an intensive curriculum that equips them with the skills and knowledge to lead successful airborne missions.
“This is the 6th class that the 7th SFG(A) has run since the USASOC decertification back in 2020. We have had a consistent 60-70 students for the past 4 classes” said Master Sgt. Leonel D. Castillo, Special Operations Forces static line jumpmaster course (SOF-SLJMC) chief instructor. “My job was to make sure the students received accurate and up-to-date information and training.”
Jumpmaster school sets specific qualifications for its students. Prior to attending, candidates must complete the Basic Airborne Course (BAC) and earn their jump wings. Once they arrive, they undergo physically and mentally demanding training, ensuring they are prepared to make critical decisions in high-stress scenarios. The course consists of a Nomenclature Exam, Pre-Jump Exam, Written Exam, PWAC Exam, JMPI Exam, and Safety Duties Exam.
“The mission of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Static Line Jumpmaster course is to train paratroopers in the skills necessary to perform jumpmaster duties during an airborne operation. This includes duties as the Airborne Commander, Primary and Assistant Jumpmaster, Safety, Departure Airfield Control Officer, and the Drop Zone Safety Officer,” said Castillo.
Photo: U.S. Paratroopers from 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) perform PWAC (Practical work inside the Aircraft) to become jumpmasters on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 26, 2023. Airmen and Soldiers worked together to certify as jumpmasters. (Photo by Spc. Christopher Sanchez)
The day before graduation, students conducted a Practical Work inside the Aircraft (PWAC) Exam. During this exam, they were graded on hand and arm signals, door check procedures, in an aircraft while in flight. These future jump masters learn to supervise parachute operations, focusing on safety, accuracy, and mission success. The curriculum covers everything from jump theory and aircraft procedures to proper equipment use and drop zone control.
“Going to Jumpmaster School made me a better paratrooper and a better teacher. To know and understand why things are the way they are in an Airborne operation, makes the difference between someone who is there to be there and someone who is there to serve a purpose bigger than us all” said Staff Sgt. Clayton Wider, Jr., a 92A, automated logistics specialist.
In the end, graduation from jumpmaster school marks a significant achievement, certifying the students as qualified jump masters ready for deployment. Their role is critical in ensuring the safety and success of airborne operations, making them a key component to their respective branches of the military. Jumpmaster school remains a crucial institution in the journey to becoming elite paratroopers, and its graduates stand as a testament to the dedication and discipline required to excel in this high-stakes field.
This article by Staff Sgt. Dahncye Baucom of the 7th SFG(A) was first published on December 4, 2023, by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. DVIDS content is in the public domain.
Top photo: U.S. Soldiers with 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct an airborne operation on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, October 26, 2023. The jump served as means for jumpmaster qualification and certification. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Ryan Jenkins)