Congratulations to the Newest Group of Missoula’s Rookie Smokejumpers
By angelamontana

A HUGE congratulations to the June 2013 rookie smokejumper graduates!

Jake Caudle, one of the graduates from Missoula, is a friend of ours, and we actually got to watch him and the rest of the crew do practice jumps from the plane.  That was pretty cool.  We also got a tour of the Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center, which was pretty cool.  The award ceremony was followed a BBQ, and the weather couldn’t have been better.  It was all pretty darn cool.

Jake is a former U.S. Marine, and he spent 9 months in Iraq while serving.  He is pretty much one of those guys that excels at everything he tries, and jumping from a plane and fighting wildland fires are no exceptions!

Take a look at the following pictures of Jake from the time they suited up and got in the plane to the time he jumped and was presented with his graduation certificate:


This is Jake on the right suiting up to jump…


This is where the plane throws streamers out to gauge the wind…


Okay, time to jump….two at a time…Jake was on the left


Here he comes…


He was pretty close to the target…


Almost there…


BAM! The flag was the target, and I think he landed the closest to it out of all the jumpers!


Now it’s time for a cargo drop…that plane flew quite low for that


After the BBQ, it was time for the graduation ceremony. Jake is shown here shaking hands with all the instructors.

Congratulations to Jake and the rest of the crew, thank you for all you do!  The day of his graduation, Jake got on a plane and headed to Alaska to help with a fire up there.  We look forward to hearing some pretty good stories when he gets back!

(photos courtesy of Jason Maxwell and Angela Montana)