Fort Bragg jumpmaster sets standard
August 7, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The 82nd Airborne Division held its annual Jumpmaster of the Year competition in April. This year's winner was Staff Sgt. Michael B. Mabry, Battery D, 1st Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
Mabry is a master-rated jumpmaster and was personally selected by Command Sgt. Major Samuel B. Campbell, the 18th Fires Brigade command sergeant major, to represent the brigade. "I have performed on several airborne operations and jumpmaster teams with Staff Sergeant Mabry, so I was able to personally see his proficiency as a jumpmaster," he said.
Campbell has only one airborne battalion, which is deployed, so he didn't have the opportunity to hold a brigade competition, he said.
"Staff Sergeant Mabry clearly demonstrates the standards we expect our jumpmasters to uphold," said Campbell, "They are expected to do it and do it right, and he displays those standards."
Mabry's and his competitor's competence was challenged throughout the competition. The competition consisted of a 100-question written exam, a 100-question nomenclature exam, a six-station rigging exam, a test over Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection and Practical Work in the Aircraft and an Army Physical Fitness Test - all over a three-day span, said Sgt. 1st Class Eric J. Cuilla, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition.
In jumpmaster school, the paratroopers only take a 25-question exam, so the jumpmaster competition is much more challenging, said Cuilla.
"The competition is tough, but it goes to show that the winner is a very good jumpmaster," he added.
Not only did the competitors have to be proficient in the competitive areas, they also had to be currently-qualified jumpmasters, senior- or master-rated and could not be Advanced Airborne School cadre members within the last two years, said Cuilla.
"Staff Sergeant Mabry is a very competent jumpmaster and I would feel confident having him JMPI me and put me out of the aircraft," he said.
Mabry said although the competition was a rigorous testing process, he was both honored and humbled. "After traveling to Normandy, France, walking the grounds of St. Mere Eglise and personally seeing the legacy the 82nd built, the experience was truly humbling," he said.
In honor of his accomplishment, Mabry received the Army Commendation Medal, a jumpmaster trophy, an Association of the United States Army plaque and coin, a lifetime membership to the 82nd Association and plaque and a commanding general and command sergeant major coin.
He will serve as a spokesperson for the 82nd Airborne Division for upcoming conventions.