MILITARY MATTERS: Jumpmaster Passes On His Wings To Son At Airborne Graduation On Fort Moore

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 10:50 PM EDT
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FORT MITCHELL, Al.. (WTVM) - More than 400 men and women graduated a few days ago on Fort Moore from the U-S Army Basic Airborne Course. That includes a new soldier who had wings pinned on him by his jumpmaster father, after they leaped from a plane together. We spoke to both of them for this heartwarming story.

16 years after First Sgt. Joseph Turrentine, a US Army jumpmaster, attended Airborne School, his son just did the same on Fort Moore.

“My whole life, I’ve been in the bleachers watching him jump. It was always so cool just to see him jump out. To experience it for the first feeling, especially with him,” new US Army paratrooper PFC Ethen Turrentine said.

His father, 1SG Joseph Turrentine, an 82nd Airborne Division jumpmaster, said “Jumping with him makes me just proud, proud as any dad could be.”

To be a better person, go to college, and follow in his father’s footsteps...Private 1st Class Ethen Turrentine joined the Army this past January. He started the 3-week basic Airborne course in mid-June, leading to the final Jump week, the last leap being from a plane 1250 feet in the air.

“Man, I was scared, but as soon as I jumped out, I did my 6000 count, checked my canopies, it’s a feeling you can’t even describe,” PFC Ethen Turrentine said.

Just falling, he says he loved it. And Private Turrentine will now be serving under his dad in the 82nd Airborne Division.

He added, “I’m excited and nervous because he (dad) already knows my bosses.”

“Being airborne qualified and being a jumpmaster as well, it’s just a tight knit group, we look out for each other,” 1SG Joseph Turrentine said.

At the drop zone in Fort Mitchell where they just jumped together, First Sgt. Turrentine was honored to pin wings, the ones he got in 2007, onto his son - who just graduated into the Airborne community. His dad held back tears talking about it.

“Means a lot, it really does,” 1SG Joseph Turrentine said, getting choked up. “What it means to pass the wings to my’s a very proud moment, something that I did when I was close to his age.”

Next on the bucket list is to be his son’s jumpmaster and send him out of a plane.

“Hopefully in the future, I can have a son that goes to Airborne too, I can give him my dad’s wings, pass them down like legacy,” PFC Ethen Turrentine said.

“Eventually, I’m going to have to stop jumping, but I know a piece of me and a piece of my family is going to continue on,” his dad told us.

They are building a family legacy, as father and son paratroopers now.