I remember straining to get my first look at the legendary Island
as it came into sight. Even though we'd had a fair amount of time
with the sand table model, the Island looked different than I'd
expected. Smoke from the B-25's and A-20's was evident from quite a
distance. Other planes doing the "A" Field drop were stretched out
ahead of us, and as we
got closer to the drop zone I saw chutes blossoming from them. As
soon as the jumpers were clear, the planes went into a shallow left
turn for the next pass at the field.
We had a go-point given to us at the sand table. I
believe it was the road down to Battery Wheeler. From that we were
told to jump at 3 or 4 seconds past the go-point. Jumping the third
stick gave me a chance to adjust my go count. The first two sticks
jumped a little early and I was determined I was not going to jump
as early as they had. I'd adjusted my thinking determined to wait 10
seconds and then go. The crew chief was at the door and thought I
was not going to jump. He was banging me on the leg as I leaned into
the slipstream to get a good look at the field. I know the count, in
my excitement was fast, but I counted to 10 and went.
I landed about a third of the way from the last
officers quarter and Battery Wheeler.