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Jumping from an Airplane

Heroes Remember

Jumping from an Airplane

The first jump is very easy because you don't know what's going on. The second one is the hardest one. Because you know that the straps are going to come up and bang you on the side of your helmet, bang on the side of your ear, you know you are going to get that little jerk. You know, you know what I mean? The first time you are not waiting for that, right, because you don't know it's going to happen. The second time you are waiting for that jerk. And when you do look up, you check your canopy and it's open, great You say, geez, thanks, another one! And you look all around, it's just like a bird floating through the air. And when you land, you're landing anywhere from ten, fifteen, twenty miles an hour, probably, you know, But a lot of people don't realize it that say at okay, at three thousand feet the air is going one way. You get down to two, and it's going the opposite way. You know the wind is blowing the opposite way. So you're going one way then all of a sudden you see yourself going the other way. That's fascinating to be able to do that. Then you have to adjust your chutes and, you know, guide yourself down, and not to hit anything on the way down like land on a fence, like a cow. I hit a cow once. There was a herd of cattle in the corner on this field. And, of course, there is this one cow, one cow that's got to be out a few hundred yards from where it is. And I'm coming down and I'm looking and this stupid thing is looking at ya, watching you come down, wouldn't move! You holler at it, can't hear you, but, you know, in the last hundred feet or so you're hitting that ground pretty good, eh? "Boom",, hit his rump, and the darn thing runs off about ten feet, turns around, then looks at ya with a dumb grin on its' face. And, of course, you're cursing the cow, eh? And then you got a big bruise on your hip the next day. But those are the hazards.

Mr Gratto remembers jumping from a plane and explains some of the things you may not realize about it.

James Gratto

James Gratto was born in 1934 in Halifax,Nova Scotia. His father worked on the Canadian National Railway and his mother passed away when he was young. One day during school he and some of his friends went down to the recruitment truck during lunch time to sign up. After getting the call he quit school and went to basic training for eight to ten weeks before serving in the Congo for seven months where he worked in 1962 with the Royal Canadian Signals Corp with UN Peacekeeping. Later on Mr. Gratto became a member of the Air Borne Signals Squadron. He had a military career of 32 years.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Gratto
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Signals Corps

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