Parachuting: SA team to participate in U.S. competition

2012-07-25 00:00

THREE South African National Defence Force reserve paratroopers of Durban-based Bravo company, 3 Parachute Battalion, are gearing up to take part in an international military parachuting competition at Rhode Island in the United States.

Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Camp, Lieutenant George de Beer and Corporal Nick van Vuuren will be competing against 300 paratroopers from around the world.

They are part of a 10-man team of the South African reserve force military paratroopers who will be leave on Friday for the competition.

Camp said he was looking forward to the competition.

“It will be a great experience.”

He said one of the most rewarding aspects of the competition was the opportunity to compete with some of the best airborne units in the world.

“While it has a fun element, one of the aims is to develop the command and control ability of the military airborne, and the capability for delivering a manoeuvrable force on the tactical objective with timely precision with which to conduct combat operations,” Camp said.

Teams from around the world will compete in groups of four. Each team, wearing parachutes that have steerable canopies, exits the rear of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

“The objective is to steer towards a designated drop zone and the place where “X” marks the spot for a perfect landing. Time starts not when a team exits the aircraft, but when the team hits the ground, and it stops when the group touches the target, said De Beer, who is also part of team South Africa.

Each team does a number of jumps, and the team with the lowest cumulative score of all three jumps is crowned the champion.

De Beer has done a number of military jumps in other countries around the world. Although he admits he is a bit nervous, he feels he is ready.

“I am really looking forward to this. It is always a different experience in every country,” he said.

When the teams get to a different country, they complete a refresher military parachuting course specific to each country.

The course usually takes about a day and when they have completed it they qualify to jump in that specific country.

The competition is hosted by USA Army National Guard at Rhode Island. It began in 1982 and is the largest, longest-running military static line parachuting competition in the world.

It will be held from August 1-8.

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