Veteran Paratroopers Jump Again at Bragg
Posted May 19, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
FORT BRAGG — Hundreds of people are coming home to Fort Bragg to celebrate All American week. Among them are some veteran paratroopers, jumping at the chance to relive some of their glory days.
History of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg is the theme of this year's All America Week. Wednesday, the focus was a 34-foot tower that helped veterans to recall their pasts with one, final jump.
"I've thought about it over the years, how I'd like to do it again," said Murray. "Most every guy that's been in the airborne thinks about doing it again. I don't know whether I'll have my eyes open or closed, but I'll be thinking back to the first time I did it many years ago," said Bob Murray, who was an E-5 in the 82nd during the Korean War.
The 69-year-old Murray, along with other Korean and Vietnam veterans geared up Wednesday morning in the spirit of the celebration at Fort Bragg. Some noticed that the gear they were suiting up in seemed heavier, and somewhat tighter, than it did during their service years.
As a paratrooper with the 508th Regimental Combat Team, Murray made 24 jumps in the early 1950's. Wednesday, he made his 25th and 26th.
"It was an interesting period in your life," Murray reminisced. "It's something you'll never forget. And I didn't even ask myself why I'm doing it, but I'm glad I did."
A paratrooper in the 1950's was paid $50 per jump. Today, paratroopers receive $150 per jump. Murray says many other things have changed as well.
For instance, when he learned to jump from airplanes and helicopters, they were told to jump out at a 45 degree angle. Wednesday, he learned the hard way that it's better to just step out and fall. He struck a barrier near the tower on one of his fall, but was not injured.