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Pararescuer performs tandem jump

FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska -- 1st Lt. John Romspert pilots a tandem jump with passenger Senior Airman Don Lacy during a pararescuemen training jump at the Malamute drop zone Oct. 21. With few people qualified to do tandem jumps, only five-to-10 tandem training jumps occur each year. Romspert is a combat rescue pilot with the 212th Rescue Squadron and Lacy is an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 176 Operational Support Flight both at Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding)

FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska -- 1st Lt. John Romspert pilots a tandem jump with passenger Senior Airman Don Lacy during a pararescuemen training jump at the Malamute drop zone Oct. 21. With few people qualified to do tandem jumps, only five-to-10 tandem training jumps occur each year. Romspert is a combat rescue pilot with the 212th Rescue Squadron and Lacy is an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 176 Operational Support Flight both at Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding)

FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska -- 1st Lt. John Romspert and Senior Airman Don Lacy wrap up their landing and gear after a tandem jump during pararescuemen training at Malamute drop zone Oct. 21. Being one to pack parachutes for pararescuemen, Lacy wanted to experience how the parachute worked in action. Romspert is a combat rescue pilot with the 212th Rescue Squadron and Lacy is an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 176 Operational Support Flight both at Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding)

FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska -- 1st Lt. John Romspert and Senior Airman Don Lacy wrap up their landing and gear after a tandem jump during pararescuemen training at Malamute drop zone Oct. 21. Being one to pack parachutes for pararescuemen, Lacy wanted to experience how the parachute worked in action. Romspert is a combat rescue pilot with the 212th Rescue Squadron and Lacy is an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 176 Operational Support Flight both at Kulis Air National Guard Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding)

FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airmen from a Kulis Air National Guard unit participated in a tandem jump at Malamute drop zone on Fort Richardson Oct. 21, 2009.

Senior Airman Don Lacy, an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 176 Operations Support Flight, was strapped to 1st Lt. John Romspert, a combat rescue officer with the 212th Rescue Squadron, on a C-130 Hercules aircraft to participate in a training jump with pararescuemen.

"You should have seen the view before jumping," Lacy told the ground team.

Lacy's normal Guard job is to pack parachutes for pararescuemen at Kulis.

"I want to feel so confident when I am packing the parachutes that I would feel safe jumping with it, too," he said.

Lacy has done other tandem jumps before, but this was his first jump using a parachute he packed himself. Romspert, the "pilot" of the tandem jump, instructed Lacy on the procedures and checks they would go through before and during the jump.

Romspert does four-to-six tandems a year and has completed more than 300 jumps himself. He has done tandems for the past four years, and said one of his most memorable was when he landed in a sunflower field in Thailand.

"We do tandems when we're in a situation where non-qualified jumpers need to get to into an area; like, for example, medics," he said.

He also mentioned that sometimes they will jump with 400-600 pound barrels strapped to them for training to simulate jumping with equipment.

"No matter what, you will always go the same speed. It's physics," said Lacy. "The usual speed a jumper will fall is around 120 mph."

Pararescuemen train in all kinds of terrain and practice jumping from a wide range of aircraft. These include the C-130 Hercules, the C-17 Globemaster III, H60 Black Hawk helicopters and also some civilian aircraft. These jumps sometimes occur in remote locations. If a skier, hiker or any other person or group gets stranded in Alaska and needs rescue, the Guard unit at Kulis is ready. The unit trains at least once a week to prepare them for rescue support.
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