Fort Benning, GA Paratrooper Falls 1000 Ft., Sept 1949

Paratrooper In 1,000-Foot Fall, Bruised

Ft. Benning, Ga.-(UP)-An army paratrooper, screaming for divine help, plunged 1,000 feet in an almost free fall yesterday and escaped with a case of nerves and bruises.

Master Sgt. James P. Hendrix, Lepanto, Ark., was the 13th man to bail out of the plane nine miles from here during a routine jump while qualifying for his paratrooper wings.

Hendrix said his main chute was caught in the backwash of the prop and blew against him, the chute shrouds becoming entangled in his boot buckles.

At 500 feet he jerked the emergency chute rip cord. It opened for a moment then became enmeshed with the other chute and Hendrix plummeted earthward with nothing above him but flapping silk and tangled lines.

“I screamed to God for help as I fell helpless,” Hendrix said.

An instant before he hit the ground, Hendrix said he summoned all his strength and pulled his body into a V-shape, head and feet high. That permitted him to roll when he hit the ground.

Hendrix said he couldn’t move for a few minutes after hitting, but after the initial shock his faculties returned.

He was rushed to the hospital where he said this morning he was feeling fine. Doctors kept him under observation but said he apparently only had a case of nerves and minor bruises.

Hendrix, a wartime Congressional Medal of Honor winner, is married and is the father of a two-year-old child.

Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, WI 9 Sept 1949