We got the opportunity to talk to three members of the Navy’s Parachute Team – “The Leap Frogs” after their jump into X Games Austin this afternoon. Check out the interview below with Brandon (SO1), Timmy (SO1), and Duncan (Lt. [SEAL])
How was the jump today?
Brandon: It was great; we were up at 6,000 feet, going about 120 mph. We could see the skyline of Austin, and then below was the X Games crowd. We loved hearing the crowd cheering.
When and how did you join the Navy?
Brandon: 2008. I was going to college and was wondering what to do – do I stay in college or join the Navy? My family made me finish, but I knew as soon as I was done I was going to enlist.
Timmy: 2005. I enlisted after a year of college. I knew I wanted to be a SEAL. I went to SEAL Team One after all my training and had four deployments while there. I just got back from Afghanistan and joined up with the Leap Frogs early this year.
Duncan: I started at the Naval Academy in 2005. I followed a friend of mine from growing up to the Naval Academy and learned about Naval Special Warfare while I was there my freshmen year. Every year there are 25 available billets to BUD/s for seniors and I knew that’s what I wanted.
When did you jump for the first time?
Brandon: Part of our training regimen is called SQT – SEAL Qualification Training. While we are going through that program (it’s before we go to a SEAL team) we got to free fall school for two months. While you’re there you jump anywhere between 25 and 50 times. You get familiar with rucksacks and combat equipment, oxygen, etc. Our graduation jump includes oxygen, a weapon, a rucksack, and it’s at night, with your team. Once you accomplish that you’ve finished free fall school.
What was going through your head the first time you ever jumped?
Brandon: A funny joke we tell is that most guys jump with their eyes closed, so it’s like a night jump. Then when you open your eyes you realize it’s day time and you pull your canopy at the last moment.
Duncan: All I thought was “Pull my canopy, pull my canopy, pull my canopy!”
Timmy: I went through emergency procedures in my head the whole time.
Why did you choose the Navy?
Timmy: The SEAL teams were the number one pull for me. SEAL = Sea, Air, and Land, that aspect of being able to do it all.
Brandon: Same reason. For me it was trying to find the program that I thought was the most challenging for myself, and it seemed like the Navy SEAL program was the best to challenge myself to the fullest extent.
Want to see their jump? You can watch the first person perspective video on our Facebook page.
A U.S. Navy student of SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) class 279 conduct Immediate Action Drills (IADS) in Niland, Ca. SQT students are trained in the basics of IADS so they can begin to understand how to react as a team to enemy contacts. The Navy SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Forces and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the Sea, Air and Land.