The only major
accident during the team's training period at Orange happened to Sergeant
Fortenberry in the middle of July. In practicing an accuracy jump he tumbled
forward on landing, and to break his fall put out his right arm. His right
collarbone, weakened by a break suffered years ago in a motor scooter accident,
broke a second time. Wearing a cast strapped on with adhesive tape, he resumed
jumping several days ago. "I learned a lot by watching," Fortenberry
says cheerily about his enforced layoff.
At the Inn at
Orange a few evenings ago, members of the men's and women's teams were sitting
around relaxing. Arender was discussing Rimbaud's philosophy with Mrs. Carlyn
Olson, Mrs. Muriel Simbro and Mrs. Gladys Inman of the women's team. At other
tables parachutists, riggers and parachute enthusiasts were talking parachute
talk and practicing languages on each other. Sergeant Fortenberry, who is a
parachute rigger in the army when not jumping, came in, took some joshing about
his collarbone and sat down.
have a terrific sense of humor," he said. "One game we play is called
dead ants. The antmaster—the fellow who lost the last game—calls out "Dead
ants!' and the last one to lie down on the floor on his back with his hands and
feet up has to pay for the beers. Listen to this." Then an employee of the
center—which uses Telsan Tern and Telsan Hustler parachutes
exclusively—unleashed his guitar and began singing a calypso number comparing
those chutes with the Seven gore TU.
"The TU he is
not so great,
You turn him and he oscillate."
The stanzas got a
big hand from the parachutists. The singer turned his attention to
Fortenberry's misadventure while using the Seven gore TU.
downwind to bring me home,
She throw me on my collarbone."
laughed, Fortenberry as easily as the rest. The guitar was borrowed by a
talented rigger and the saga of the parachutist whose chute failed to open was
recounted. The room lighted up as a pair of Flaming Descent cocktails was
ushered in for parachuting admirers. One got the idea that the mission of
Jacques Andr� Istel—to encourage more and more Americans to achieve exaltation
by tumbling out of airplanes—was nearing completion.