National Geographic : 1952 Jun
r i 846 Said Pat Irwin After Her First Jump: "It Was Terrific! I'd Like to Do It Again!" Like most Lakehurst student riggers, Pat got jittery as her parachute course moved toward its climax. In the final days, one question loomed in their minds: "Will I have the nerve to jump?" Of the students in Pat's class, only one defaulted. All the rest leaped and landed safely, thereby qualifying as Parachute Rigger Airmen. Without at least one actual jump, Navy authorities believe, no amount of theoretical training can make an expert parachute rigger. After graduation, Pat and the other Waves in her class moved on to stations at Navy airbases; some of the men were assigned to aircraft carrier duty on the Seven Seas. Wherever they are stationed, they function as experts on the care, repair, maintenance, and operation of parachutes. Every rigger must not only keep all chutes entrusted to him in perfect condition at all times, but must also be willing, at any hour, to prove his confidence in each parachute-by jumping with it.