In October 2019, we supported 6 Reservists to take part in a parachuting exercise. The aim of the exercise was to provide a mentally challenging and physically demanding two week parachuting course where moral courage and leadership would be tested. One of the participants describes the experience:
A big thank you to The Ulysses Trust for giving funding to Freefall Fougasse 2019, I am a Reservist with 101 London Regt EOD&S and saw the advert for the expedition and applied due to having an interest in getting involved in the sport of parachuting. Without the opportunity of going on Freefall Fougasse it would be been a very long and expensive journey. However, now I am A License qualified and allowed to jump anywhere around the world with thanks to the Royal Engineer Sports Parachuting Association (RESPA) and 42 RE GEO for organising It, with the aid of donors such as The Ulysses Trust.
As a reservist I am keen to get involved with RESPA and have the freedom and time to do so. This opportunity to go to Skydive Arizona was a massive help and step in the right direction to becoming a part of a parachuting team. Without it, I would still be trying to get on a course in the UK where you wouldn’t get the right weather and conditions to get 20 jumps in 2 weeks.
Going to Arizona was amazing with the weather being in the 30s every day and only 2 windy days meant for the best possible opportunity to get the jumps in and achieve the aim of an A licensed Parachutist. As well as getting out to America, seeing the culture and sights within Arizona, meant for a great experience and making new friends within the RESPA and the skydiving community.
The first week was the more challenging week as there was lots to learn and a massive challenge to get in the plane, jump out and then remember everything while falling to the ground at 120mph. There was a range of emotions and feelings from everyone in the team but without fail everyone got out and carried out the drills. Nerves were high in the plane but being the British Army, we attacked the challenge with a smile. Once under canopy we were left on our own carry out the brief and hopefully land in the right area. Instructors were on the ground directing us in on radios to help us properly gauge where to turn and understand the reasoning behind the training. Straight after there was no rest as we got debriefed on our performance and then briefed up on the next jump level we would attempt.
Another great thing about the expedition was that we were released for a couple of days throughout the expedition either to rest or due to wind conditions. This was a great opportunity to get out and see the way Americans live and their culture as well as good team bonding by doing other activities.
The second week was when things ramped up, we were getting 3-5 jumps in a day and starting to jump on our own. We would go up with instructors, then get dispatched out of the plane and be on our own while in freefall. By this point we were relaxed enough to practice different movements and take the time to enjoy the views and adrenaline rush from the activity.
Overall the experience was perfect, opening my eyes to the skydiving community and without going to Arizona I don’t believe the experience or outcome would be the same.
Many thanks to the Ulysses Trust for donating towards the expedition as for that I am now an A license qualified parachutist with the passion to carry on within the sport and aim to compete.
Spr Kyle Jamieson