If you’re like us, you’re looking forward to the new SEAL/ War on Terror movie, Act of Valor. John Hinderaker of PowerLine called our attention to this:
… very fun video of Navy SEALS parachuting into a premiere of the movie Act of Valor. If you have ever wondered what it would look like to jump out of an airplane and parachute to a landing in an urban area, now you know:
We have no proof, but we think these guys are the SEALs’ “Leao Frogs” parachute team, their answer to the Golden Knights or the Red (or is it Black?) Daggers. We’ll admit straight up we’ve never done a jump like that. We can tell you all about an x-hundred foot static line while burdened with 100-plus pounds of lightweight gear. This looks like it’s a lot more fun.
The frogman jumps, and almost immediately pops his canopy, and from then on he’s flying towards his objective. With a white-phosphorous flare so that folks can see him coming. And if you’re paying attention, you can see the other flares on other jumpers as these guys assemble in the air for a crowd-pleasing landing.
Canopy flying is the best part of jumping, in our opinion. We were never too gung-ho for the leap into space, and confess to a little anxiety just before impact, er, touchdown. (You can’t glide an MC-1 chute or even the old HALO PC like the wings these stalwarts are flying).
The jumper controls his chute with the toggles you can see in the video. Stretch the left one down to turn left, right one to turn right, and both together to control your rate of descent and glide ratio. It’s very instinctive, once you get a little experience (some jumpers are naturals). It takes professionalism, but not Superman: there have been women on the Golden Knights for decades, and they hold their share of high ratings and world records.
You’d think showmanship like this is a full-time job, and it is. But these guys (and their Army counterparts) are real special operators and the skills they display here are skills that have been used in combat, and that the services maintain for that reason. The recruiting jolt of having a bunch of SEALs drop into a movie premiere is just a benefit (and you know they loved doing it!). The members of the Leap Frogs do it for a while and then return to regular SEAL duties.
The difference between this jump and a combat HAHO? In combat, your flares or lights are infrared, invisible to the naked eye. You pick a night with pretty low light levels, and you wear night-vision goggles. Your enemy is generally a little bit diffident about illuminating the drop zone for you. If there’s going to be a prepared drop zone, it’s special ops guys who prepare it (often AFSOF’s CCTs). By the time the 82nd or Rangers make a mass-tactical jump, as in Grenada, the SOF guys have been at work for a while.
But right now, the SEALs are just showing off a little. What the hell. They’ve earned it.
And yeah, we really want to see the movie.