Two Army noncommissioned officers were able to mark Father's Day early this year with a rare event: a father-and-son airborne jump.
Sgt. Maj. Jason Towns, the command sergeant major of 3rd Special Force Group's support battalion and Sgt. Jaden Towns, an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne, jumped from a C-27 Spartan tactical transport aircraft Thursday at Fort Bragg.
Sgt. Maj. Towns believes the jump was the last of his Army career, making the chance to complete it with his son that much more significant.
"I knew I had a jump prior to my [permanent change of station move]," he told Military.com in an interview. "I asked if he would be interested. It's probably the last jump of my career. I'm going to a non-airborne unit soon."
With the support of the chain of command at the 82nd, Sgt. Jaden Towns was able to jump with his dad and train with a different parachute than his unit uses.
Sgt. Towns was the first to jump from the plane.
"It was cool, it was a new chute," he told Military.com in an interview. "It was fun, I got to be the No. 1 jumper, and he was the jump master."
Sgt. Maj. Towns made sure he was the one who inspected his son's parachute before the jump. It's his job to make sure all soldiers are safe to exit the aircraft, but there was added pressure when his son was one of the jumpers.
"It's crazy when it's your kid involved. I was super careful with everything, with his training," the father said. "I made sure he understood the full functionality of the parachute, the braking system, turning system, things like that."
Sgt. Maj. Towns said he originally tried to dissuade from joining the military -- but Sgt. Towns was determined to follow in his footsteps.
"I tried to push him away from the Army," he said. "His mom and I are both Army. All he has known is the military and I wanted him to go experience something else. But he was dead set; it was his dream to be an infantryman."
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.