Archives October 2022

ROOIPLAAS USA PARATROOPERS SHOW THE WAY

Johan de Wet of Rooiplaas USA Canopy sent the following report.

Five South African parabats (Derek Greef, Edward Jeffery, Tony Deering, James Buckley, and Johan de Wet), currently residing in the USA, attended a refresher and retraining jumping course during the week of 17 – 22 October 2022 at the Marion county airport in Dunnellon, situated on the West Coast of Florida. Parachutists who are current or recently completed their training jump here once a year.  The refresher training was done on Monday (17th) and Tuesday (18th) in harnesses hanging on blocks and tackles, which included emergency procedures in the harnesses. Our initial jumps were out of a Cessna, and the later jumps were from a Dakota.  As long as you jump once in two years and your logbook is signed, you don’t have to redo the training.

Our ex-SADF Parabats are highly esteemed and favored due to our intensive training – even the Chief in Charge referred to our experience. We were treated like celebrities! The SA bats jumped first, and the newly qualified students jumped the day thereafter. We jumped with the SF-10A parachute, which is quite steerable and nice to jump with, and even the landings were soft – much better than any of the chutes that we ever jumped with in the past. We packed our own parachutes under supervision. You had to jump with your own packed chute – a bit stressful, to say the least. We gladly paid the $25 to the chute packers for the remainder of the course! On Thursday afternoon (20th), Friday (21st), and Saturday (22nd), we jumped from the Dak. It was an absolutely awesome week, with great memories, camaraderie, and the jumps were phenomenal.      

The USA canopy is quite active, with 24 ex-bats who are proudly Rooiplaas members.

EX ALTO VINCIMUS!

Legendary Army Ranger, who fought in three wars, dies at 97

Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr., center, is presented the Iron Mike Statue by Maj. Gen. John. W. Nicholson, Jr. (Pfc. Nguyen Christophe/Army)

Legendary Army Ranger, who fought in three wars, dies at 97 (militarytimes.com)

The soldier for whom the Army’s Best Ranger Competition is named passed away Sept. 11 at age 97.

Retired Lt. Gen. David E. Grange, Jr. served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He enlisted in 1943 and commissioned in 1950 after attending Officer Candidate School.

During World War II, Grange served as a paratrooper with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He played a role in the Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe campaigns. When the war ended, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division before going to OCS.

Upon commission as a 2nd lieutenant, Grange was sent to Korea as a rifle platoon leader with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. After Korea, he was a Ranger instructor and served as an Army staff officer, according to the Association of the U.S. Army.

In 1963, he entered his third war as an adviser in Vietnam on his first of three tours to the country. Grange’s second and third tours were spent with the 506th Infantry Regiment and 101st Airborne Division, respectively. His last post was as commanding general of the Sixth U.S. Army.

He retired in 1984 with 41 years of service.

Grange is highly decorated, with awards including the “Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Army Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Soldier’s Medal; 28 awards of the Air Medal with V; Bronze Star Medal with V and four Oak Leaf Clusters; Joint Service Commendation Medal with V; United States Army Commendation Medal with V and four Oak Leaf Clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal; and the Purple Heart,” reads the 506th Infantry’s unit history.

“France has awarded him the Legion of Honor in the degree of Officer,” the history adds. “Korea has awarded General Grange the Wharang Medal with Gold Star, the Kuksun Medal and the Cheonsu Medal. Vietnam awarded him the Gallantry Cross with two palms and Silver Star, and the Military Honor Medal, First Class.”

In 1984, the “LTG David E. Grange, Jr. Best Ranger Competition” was named in his honor.

About Sarah Sicard

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

(Rooiplaas comment: Thank you for your service, Sir. Ex Alto Vincimus)