Service with the Joint Service Parachute Wing, Netheravon
In summer 2019, I was lucky to be offered a black economy posting to the Joint Service Parachute Wing Netheravon (JSPWN). The duration of the posting was a year, but it ended slightly early due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The JSPWN is the home of parachuting for the British Army and the courses cater for a range of abilities from foundation level to advanced candidates. I acted as an assistant staff member to the instructors who worked with 11 other soldiers from many different regiments. Before I could begin, I had to complete my jump qualifications to get my first skydiving license. After A total of 19 jumps I was qualified: an achievement that I will be forever grateful to the Army for, and one that I will never forget!
Throughout the 2019 parachuting season, day to day activity varied from carrying out jumps, parachute packing lessons and checking how well students had packed their parachutes. The weather plays a big part in the sport – as you can imagine, cloud cover, high winds and rain do not mix very well with parachuting. This was frustrating at times during the British summer months with time spent sat at the drop zone waiting for a break in the weather. However, I was lucky enough to enjoy excellent weather when I traveled to Cyprus for the whole month of September to work with the parachuting wing at Dhekelia.
The highlight of my time with JSPWN was a deployment on Exercise INTREPID SKY: a 17-day expedition to Lake Elsinore, California. The aim of this exercise was to gain experience ahead of the 2020 parachuting season, and to develop our abilities further. It was an excellent chance to refine old skills and learn some new. The weather was near perfect most of the time and the drop zone was very efficient running 2 planes back to back with a third on standby. This allowed for plenty of time in the air. During my time at JSPWN I managed a total of 212 jumps and numerous jumping qualifications alongside that.
I had an amazing time and, with it being on our doorstep, I will now be organising parachuting courses and encouraging all members of The Royal Welsh to give parachuting a go. In my opinion, with all the adventure training options out there nothing will push you out of your comfort zone more than parachuting. It is therefore a must try for everyone.