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Film 'chute' challenges skydiver to stay focused

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tabitha Dupas
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs
Skydivers are often asked, "Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good aircraft?"

With 1,363 jumps under his belt, Staff Sgt. Victor Myrick, a reservist in Keesler's 41st Aerial Port Squadron, can give a motive behind the thrill he gets with each skydiving experience.

"I love the feeling of being in a free fall," said Sergeant Myrick. "When you first jump, you move forward with the momentum of the plane. Then the momentum stops and the speed picks up as you start that free fall. It all happens within seconds."

Sergeant Myrick spent nine years in the Marine Corps and then decided to become a Citizen Airman with the 403rd Wing. When he is not serving his country, he jumps with the Gold Coast Skydivers as a licensed master skydiver and a member of the U.S. Parachute Association.

His first jump was so intriguing that he became more involved in the sport, he said. Not only does he jump from the plane, he films others the whole way down.

"I film training videos for students," he said. "I film the team on the way up, the way down and then when they are back on the ground."

As if the jump and teaching videos are not enough, the thrill-seeking reservist adds competition into the mix.

"I joined a skydiving team as the videographer," said Sergeant Myrick. "Every team has its own cameraman, who is an integral part of the team."

Of the nine members on a skydiving team, the videographer is responsible for keeping the other eight in the video screen. Every time one of the members slips off the screen the team loses two points.

"I climb out of the aircraft and hang onto the side in order to film the guys about to jump," said the daring diver. "I look for my cue to jump, just a split second before the team jumps."

Upon exiting the plane, he uses his arms to position himself above the team to film the formation as the divers free fall.

The team has been successful in competitions, winning a gold medal at the 2005 USPA National Skydiving Championships in Georgia, and it holds the Tennessee state record for highest jump. Sergeant Myrick and his teammates are practicing for the 2009 Nationals in Texas this fall.

When they are not practicing their formations, they are having what they call fun.

"I also video a rodeo," Sergeant Myrick said with a grin. "That is where the skydiver climbs out onto to the tale of the plane and holds on as if he were riding a bull."

Even though most people might find this frightening, Sergeant Myrick said safety is always the first priority when performing this audacious hobby.

"Each jump makes me nervous, but it's more excitement than fear," he said.

While most would prefer to remain inside the comfortable, safe aircraft, Sergeant Myrick prefers to jump for the thrill and adventure. For him, the passion he feels outweighs his fear. It is this mentality, he said, that motivates him to serve as a Citizen Airman. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)