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Smokejumpers
  Aerial Firefighting
 
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Dave Liston as written by Mike McMillan of Spotfireimages.com 

 

Fallen Friend

  Dave Liston smiled upon the gathering of people in the woods.

  He braced his hands beneath the small round window and stood in the crowded twin-prop airplane. He wiped the sweat from his eyes and snapped the chinstrap on his helmet into place. His heart pounded as he tightened his leg straps. He had never felt this nervous before a practice jump. “Two jumpers!” boomed the spotter at the open door. Three thousand feet below the circling ship, Dave’s girlfriend waited in a meadow known as the ‘Big Spot’. 

Kristin shaded the summer sun from her face and squinted at the plane buzzing far overhead. Standing among a crew of smokejumper trainers, she quietly wondered why her boss told her to take the morning off - just to watch Dave jump. Kristin’s three friends from work seemed filled with giddy anticipation on the winding drive through the hills above Fairbanks, Alaska. 

“Get Ready!” 

The spotter’s hand came down on Dave’s shoulder and he threw himself to the wind stream. Seconds later, he pulled the green handle from his harness, sending his parachute to the sky with a loud crack. His drew in several deep breaths, fixing his eyes on the jumpspot. Minutes later he turned upon final approach, sinking below the treetops. The wind faded near the target, and Dave knew his landing would be rough. His boots hit first as he tucked into a tight roll. His helmet hit next, the impact filling his metal facemask with dirt.

 

The rest of this story…


 

 
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