82nd Airborne Division Blog

Dick Garber, jumpmaster for Ridgway

Dick Garber WWII jumpmaster

Dick Garber WWII jumpmaster

The commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Major General Matthew B. Ridgway, was scheduled to go into Normandy, France on D-Day morning via glider. A few days before the invasion, he changed his mind. He wanted to be on the ground in the right place from the very start, and that meant parachuting in with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment as it was the only airborne regiment with combat experience in the entire invasion.

He asked Lt. Col. Mark Alexander, the executive officer of the 505, to pick a plane for him that would give the general the best chance of hitting the drop zone. Alexander selected a plane on the right side of the formation, so it would have good visibility of the target from the jump door. He also chose this particular C-47 aircraft because it had a very experienced jumpmaster – Dick Garber.

Lieutenant Garber had trained paratroopers in the states and had more jumps and served more times as jump master than just about anyone.

On June 4, 1944, Ridgway sat in on loading and jump instructions. Two days later, they loaded up, took off and after crossing the English Channel, Garber lead them out the door.

After landing, the general saw movement close by. After a start, he was relieved to discover it was only a cow. As he later recalled, “I could have kissed it.” The cow’s presence meant the field was not mined.

As it turned out, he was within 150 yards of the intended drop, which is excellent for a combat jump.

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One Response to “Dick Garber, jumpmaster for Ridgway”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jump Commander. Jump Commander said: Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway was scared by a cow after landing in the pre-dawn darkness of D-Day morning. http://jumpcommander.com/airborne/?p=15 [...]

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