September 5, 2012 - Sam Mesuch

Sam Mesuch is a lucky guy.  Not just because he served in one of the nation's elite Army divisions, but also because of what happened to him on one of his missions.   Mesuch was a member of the 82nd Airborne and was a paratrooper in several of the nation's battles, including Operation Desert Storm.

"We're always 18 hours away from anywhere in the world," said Mesuch.  "Whenever we went wheels up, Russia used to go on alert.  Even now, whenever the 82nd goes wheels up, everyone in the world watches."

In July of 1987 Mesuch was on a combat mission, 800 feet in the air, ready to jump over their target.

"When I come out of the airplane, my static line snapped in half.  My parachute was still on my back on my D bag.  It's still on back and I'm falling.  I count one-thousand, two-thousand, three-thousand, four.  I pulled my reserve.  I was tumbling.  I tumbled right into it."

With the reserve chute not working either, Mesuch had no other choice than to break for the fall.

"And I just kept tumbling and tumbling.  When I hit the ground, they all thought I was dead.  I hit at 123 miles per hour, terminal velocity.  When I hit the ground, I laid there, laughing a good bit."

Miraculously, Mesuch only suffered a hairline fracture of the ankle.  He was back in the plane and made another jump the very next day.

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