Paratroopers Give Aqua Leaping Start
By Angelo Cohn
Minneapolis Star Staff Writer
Maj. Willard Culp "dropped in" to his home state this morning to give the Minneapolis Aquatennial a spectacular start.
The army major, a native of Tracy, Minn., was the first man to "hit the silk" for a mass parachute jump by almost 300 paratroopers who landed on a farm in Blaine.
Culp was the lead-off man for Co. B, 502nd infantry of the first airborne battle group from Fort Campbell, Ky., which came to Minneapolis for the opening weekend of Aquatennial festivities.
After "capturing" the Lacktorin brothers farm in Blaine, the paratroopers assembled in the area for the climax of their parachute jumping demonstration a concluding leap from high altitude by a four-man sky-diver team.
The sky divers, known as the Screaming Eagles, are specialists in free-fall jumps, performing acrobatic maneuvers in the sky before they open their parachutes.
One paratrooper narrowly missed death in the jump. When Sgt. Aquelo Rico, a DROP
(Turn to Page 4A )
DROP (Continued from Page One) Puerto
Rican, came hurtling out of the plane, wind whipped one of the shroud lines around the parachute and prevented it from ballooning properly to give him full support on the drop.
Screaming as he fell, Rico pulled the ripcord to release an
emergency parachute, .but this also was whipped by the wind and the
parachute wrapped around his body.
The first chute provided just enough buoyancy to pre vent serious injury, however, although Rico hit the ground with a thud.
The army battle group was brought to Minneapolis Thursday in eight air force C-130 Lockheed transport planes, which also carried them to the jump area.
The lead plane came down to precisely 1,250 feet of altitude, dropped its flaps and landing gear to cut its speed to 120 knots, or about half its normal flying speed.
The jump doors, one on each side of the airplane near its swept - up tail, were opened.
Suddenly the sky was full of exploding bubbles of nylon. The billowing parachutes were accompanied by popping sounds as each chute cracked open in the rush of air.
Ten men, leaped from each door of the plane in the few seconds it was over the drop zone. Other planes followed one-minute intervals
[The Minneapolis Star, Minneapolis, MN, 15 Jul 1960, Fri, Pages 1 & 4]
Willard E. Culp registered for the draft in Marshall.
MN on 16 October 1940 and was inducted into the army on 27 May 1943.
18 July 1956 Culp arrived in San Francisco, CA from Moji, Japan aboard
the USS General William Mitchell (T-AP 114); he was listed as bring
in B Battery, 598th Airborne Engineer Co, 508th ARCT. No rank was
shown but in the July-August 2001 edition of the Red Devil
Digest, he was mentioned as "CPT Willard E. Culp, C.O. in Camp
He retired as as a Lt
Col, with 20 or more years active service on 8 January 1962