I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a while streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute — a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments. A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold onto life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have to pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain. It was that quality that led me into aviation in the first place — it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.
— Charles A. Lindbergh, contemplating his first parachute jump, ‘The Spirit of St Louis,’ 1953
John Joseph Davis, Jr. “Jay”
Jay is a service brat who points to Virginia as home. Following the tradition of his father, Jay plans to build his life around the service. Even though Jay hasn’t had the easiest time with academics, he has found plenty of time to become interested in numerous activities. If he wasn’t working on the Polaris, he could be found packing a parachute in the hall. Jay may not be remembered for long as the editor of the Polaris or as a sky diver, but he will be remembered for his easy going manner and his ability to get along with other people.
Jay Wilford Kelley “Foose”
Ole “Foose” hails from Hoosier Land and in ’59 decided to try his luck in the Air Force. After a stay at Lackland AFB, he was sent to NAPS at Bainbridge, Maryland and from thence to the Wild West and the AFA. Being an avid supporter of sky diving and a member of the semi-official Academy sky diving team, sky diving and a nurse in Denver, along with being “exec” of Friendly First Squadron, occupied most of his time as a “firstie”. He plans a June wedding and a missile career.
Stuart Boardman McCurdy “Stu”
This staunch Yankee from the huge state of Rhode Island never missed a chance to toss a jibe at his rebel contemporaries. Between his many duties on Third Group Staff and his activities of judo and sky diving, it’s a real wonder how he finished ahead of the Dean and his boys. Stu’s still wondering! After graduation and a long leave in Europe, Stu will turn the nose of his Sting Ray toward Laredo AFB, where he is looking forward to beating his brother’s fine record at pilot training.
Joel Stuart Aronoff
Joel came west from N.Y.C. to take part in the social life and the consistent climate. He has found the social life to be as consistent as the climate. He used to fly a lot with the Aero Club until he found it was more fun to jump out of airplanes than to land them. The first USAFA cadet to jump from a plane, he is the father of USAFA parachuting. He has the distinction of logging 160 more take-offs than landings. Graduation will find him in Texas (good jumping weather) and headed for a cockpit career as a fighter pilot.
Lance Peter Sijan “Sy”
Sy, a native of “old” Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came to the Academy well prepared for his career as a cadet. He attended prep school at Bainbridge, Maryland, the Navy Prep School for Annapolis, and came here well rounded in military bearing and athletic prowess. Lance earned the respect of his classmates by adhering to that quotation “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. He demonstrated this by fighting the Dean’s academic program during much of his “free” time. His accomplishments include three years varsity football, the Commandant’s Merit List, the Photo Club, the Sky Diving Club, and the TALON Staff as the photo editor.
Charles Warren Ryerson “Bones”
Chuck came to the Blue Zoo from Pasadena, California after giving it “the old college try” at a J.C. for a year. Getting right into things, he became “Chief Honcho” of the Dance Committee for four years and managed to interest a few of his classmates in the other sex. Sportswise, he soon made good on the fencing team, holding one of the top Saber positions his first-class year. He managed to parry the attacks of the AOC and the “Dean’s Shop” equally as well so that he could graduate with an Engineering Science major. Even so, the strain of the “old” system began leaving its mark and he was affectionately dubbed the “old man” at Jump Training by one of his “grandson” classmates.
James Peter McGorry “Mac”
The tall man came to USAFA from Yonkers, New York, looking for the future. During his four years with the Wing, he devoted three to the football team as a manager. During his senior year, Mac turned his sights to another sport – skydiving. Planes are all right going up, but there’s only one way to come down – all alone and falling free. Having also acquired a Basic Science major and a few trips to Europe, Mac is now working on the future gain, looking past pilot training toward the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards AFB. Then, perhaps they will give him a crack at the astronaut business, if they’ll just make those capsules a little bigger.