Something that has been entirely misrepresented in this discussion is that the club, formerly known as the Green Beret Sport Parachute Activity, is not an mwr entity

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January 17, 2007

Something that has been entirely misrepresented in this discussion is that the club, formerly known as the Green Beret Sport Parachute Activity, is not an MWR entity. That ceased to be quite a few years ago when the bar (still known as the Green Beret Parachute Club) was separated from the actual parachute club. The entity know known as the Fort Bragg Parachute Activity is a NAF entity. That's Non-Appropriated Funds. It's a different office with a different boss. Either way you look at it, it's tragic that the club is going away. It, under the Green Beret Parachute Club name, is an institution. It was always the gold standard of military parachute clubs. By far the most experienced skydivers; by far the most experienced instructors; by FAR the most social.

I joined the club in October 1984 after I returned from Germany and started the Special Forces Qualification Course. I was 20 years old and had a USPA SL jumpmaster rating and a C license. I taught at the club, with only a short three year break, from then until I retired.

The term "Skymonkey" was coined by myself and brand-spanking-new USPA regional director Kip Lohmiller in October 1998 when a guy named Ken Cupp was still running the club. Kip and I taught many first jump courses together in that club after I returned to instructing after my little break. There is a big carved wood sign over the bar in the club's building that says SKYMONKEY. On the bar are brass plates with the names of all the instructors and current, fully-qualified jumpers who were around when we moved into that building. On the wall behind that bar are signatures from way over 100 people who Kip and I, along with other junior instructors, trained since we moved over there. There are pictures, plaques and trophies all over the walls from jump meets and demos as far back as the 1970's (and before if you know where they are stored).

The Green Beret Parachute Club was the last of THREE active clubs we had on Fort Bragg to close. First to go in the early 1980's was the XVIII corps club. The last manager of that club, Bill Verner, just got his 1000th jump award in this month's Parachutists. I had the distinct honor of re-training Bill when he retired and decided to start jumping again after nearly 20 years. I was the manager of the Raeford Parachute Center School then. Next to go, or more to the point get "absorbed", was the 82nd Club. When that happened, very few of those instructors chose to come on-board with our club. We ended up with their best gear and, unfortunately, lost our "Green Beret" moniker in the process. We then became, simply, the Fort Bragg Parachute Club.

It was right around that time that the US Army Special Forces stopped providing an active duty soldier to fill the manager job. The job was contracted out and a former 82nd Club guy got the job. The last active duty manager was SFC Richard A. Guthrie (Arlo).

Rest in peace Green Beret Parachute Club! It makes me nuts that the bar is still there, with the same name, yet the actual jump club is history. For shame!

SFC (ret) Charles W. Blue II


Green Beret Parachute Team, USASOC Parachute Team

20-year member/instructor of the GB parachute Club

Skymonkey ONE!

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