By T. B. Waller
RED O'DONNELL'S* SPORTS THRILL:
Each week the Magazine pays $5
for a sports thrill which some reader has
related to Red O'Donnell. This unusual story
comes from T. B. Waller, 729 Oak-dale, Madison,
Tenn. Send your spots thrill to Red at The
Nashville Tennessean Magazine, and send a
picture of yourself to be run with your story.
experience their greatest sports thrill in football,
or basketball. Mine came while participating in that
superthriller of sports: parachute-jumping.
March, 1945 and the
508th regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, was
executing practice leaps in France. The planes took
off and the sky soon was filled with aerial boxcars
loaded with paratroopers.
When we reached the drop zone
every man on that great team knew what position he
was playing and how to play the game.
Our spectators were few but among
them were our commander, Gen. Jim Gavin, and movie
actress Marlene Dietrich.
A green light glowed near the door in
each plane and we stampeded out. My chute opened
with a terrific jerk and I looked up at the white
silk blossomed above me.
Below I heard someone yell, "Get off
my chute." I glanced down and almost froze with fear
when I discovered I was up to my knees on top of the
chute of Corp. John Davis, Little Rock, Ark.
I recalled seeing two men killed in a
similar mishap at Fort Benning, Ga. But I also
remembered we had been trained for such an
The man on top has the right of way
and gives orders to the other jumper, regardless of
rank. I instructed Davis to slip to his left.
He tugged hard on the two web belts
that extended from the left shoulder. Contrawise I
pulled down on the belts from my right shoulder.
Down we came, hoping for the best.
A few minutes before hitting the
ground, we gradually parted company.
The kickoff was over. The game was
under way. And I had experienced a thrill I shall
T. B. Waller was Thomas B. Waller, Company F., a Pfc
at the time of this incident.
"John Davis" may actuality have been Reece Davis,
the only man with that surname in Company F
Red is not a relative of Jumpmaster,