19th Special Forces Soldier wins International Parachuting Contest

By CW2 Jensen and SPC Collett, - Published - Aug 24, 2004

   

Master Sgt. Williams riding in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter waiting to jump.

Photo by CW2 Jensen

Master Sgt. Williams riding in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter waiting to jump. 

Master Sgt. Roger Williams of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) has distinguished himself by winning the 22nd Annual International Parachuting Competition held on August 14th.  The event was sponsored by the National Guard Bureau and hosted by the Rhode Island National Guard.

“I never expected to win” he says, “I just did it because I had never done it in my 35 years [of parachuting].”

The parachuting competition is conducted to foster goodwill among military parachutists from the US Military and foreign countries.  Participants from Italy, Jordan, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Thailand, Canada, United Kingdom and Romania all competed in this year’s event. 

The object of the competition is to exit from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at 1,500 feet above ground level while steering an MC1-1C military parachute to an “X” placed on the drop zone.  A jumper is timed from when his foot touches the ground, to the time the jumper touches a disk in the center of the “X”.

”With the round parachute, it all depends on the pilot, the spot you get, where you're dropped, and the wind,” stated Williams.

Master Sgt. Williams performed two jumps with incredible accuracy. “Well like I said, I've been practicing a long time," he says as he laughs.

Master Sgt. Williams with fellow jumpers from the 1/19th Special Forces Group

Photo by CW2 Jensen

 

Master Sgt. Williams with fellow jumpers from the 1/19th Special Forces Group

Soldiers preparing to board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Photo by CW2 Jensen

 

Soldiers preparing to board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter

His cumulative time of 4 seconds - from the moment he landed to touching the “X” -, was better than over 1,260 other jumpers!  Not only is accuracy critical but speed and agility are essential.  Once a jumper lands he must perform proper procedures, to include a parachute landing fall, and release of his riser assembly from his harness, all before he can get to the center of the “X”. 

Master Sgt. Williams jumping out the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

Photo by CW2 Jensen

Master Sgt. Williams jumping out the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. 

This was Williams’s first time competing in the event; however, he has been parachuting for over 35 years.  Master Sgt. Williams completed the US Army Basic Airborne Course in 1968 and has over 330 Army Static Line parachute jumps and 1780 civilian free fall jumps to his credit without injury.

Brigadier General Stanley Gordon, assistant adjutant general of the Utah Army National Guard, calling him by his first name, acknowledged the contributions of a long-time Guardsman, “Roger, he’s a great American doing great things.”

For over 38 years, Master Sgt. Williams has represented the Utah Army National Guard with honor, loyalty, courage, respect and selflessness. He can now claim to be the world’s best military parachutist.  Congratulations, MSG Williams, on your achievement.