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Journal War Letters:

First Chute Jump Thrills Paratrooper

   Pfc. John R. Montague, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Montague, 1514 Jefferson st., a paratrooper with the army at Camp McCall, N. C, will never forget the sensation of his first jump from a plane, "the greatest thrill of my life."
   Writing his parents, a "blow by blow" description of that first jump, he described, "We went down at 8 a.m. and it was too foggy to jump. We waited around until 10, but it was as foggy as ever, so we went back to our barracks.
   "I was sweating a little all morning, but in the afternoon before I jumped, I really sweat.
   Well, when the time came for me to go, I got pretty cool again. We sat in the shed.45 minutes, which seemed like three hours.
   Then it came my turn to go out and board the plane. We ran out to the plane like a football team coming out on the field. We (24 of us) got aboard, and we sat 12 on each side. We buckled safety belts on and sat there for 10 minutes until the plane got orders to take off.
   "It seemed an hour. Then we took off. We circled around and headed for the field where we were to jump. I was in the second 12 men to jump. The first 12 men went out, and it seemed very lonesome without the other fellows sitting across from me.

Knees Shook
"We circled around and then the order came for us to stand up and hook our static lines up. I got to my feet, but my knees wouldn't stay still. They sure were shaking. Then we moved forward toward the open door.  "The order came to jump. I was seventh man in line. We started to go out and it seemed like one second and I was in the door and went. We had practiced so much on going out of the door of the ground that when I went out of the plane, I did it automatically. I didn't stop to think of not going out.
   "Well, I had no feeling of falling until that good opening shock of the parachute. Then everything I was taught on how to land came to me and I landed O. K. It is very quiet in the air when you float down. It's really a thrilling experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Second Jump Also Thrilling
On the following day, Pfc. Montague wrote that he had taken his second jump, and "the thrill is just about as great as the first time." lie sent the break cord from the chute he used in his first jump home to his parents, and has promised to explain to them just how it works the next time he gets a furlough. A graduate of Ft. Atkinson high school and the Onargo, IL, military academy, Pfc. Montague studied welding before entering the service in October, 1942. He was first stationed at Camp Blanding, Fla., and took his early paratroop training at Ft. Benning, Ga.
   He ends each of his letters home by writing "give my love to the girls and Bux," Bux being his cocker spaniel who patiently awaits his master's return home.

[Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, WI, 18 Jul 1943, Sun, Page 5]

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