A Korean War veteran fulfilled his lifelong dream to skydive over the weekend to celebrate his 90th birthday.
According to FOX 13 of Salt Lake City, Joseph Dale Jaramillo leaped out of a plane in tandem with a professional skydiver. After he landed, the report says Jaramillo was full of emotion. He laughed, gave a thumbs-up, and promised to do it again on his 95th birthday.
“When you’re coming down, a lot of wind is hitting you,” Jaramillo told the news organization. “Oh my gosh, I want to do it all over again.”
The one-way flight into the clouds may have been years in the making, but Jaramillo said it was a dream come true. He said he remembered telling his tandem partner that he would “holler the whole way down” as they suited up and prepared to make the 14,000 ft. journey.
A Birthday Leap Years in the Making
Jaramillo said he dreamed of jumping out of airplanes before he enlisted in the military. However, he was undersized for his age. Because of that, the Airforce wouldn’t let him join 101st Airborne, the unit Jaramillo had applied to.
“I signed up for the 101st Airborne and only weighed 128 pounds. I had to weigh 140,” Jaramillo told Fox 13.
That didn’t stop Jaramillo from serving his country honorably. He was wounded in action during his service in Korea and even saved another man while he was injured. Jaramillo received a Purple Heart for his bravery.
Born Again in the Clouds
Jaramillo isn’t the only senior citizen that’s taken to skydiving late in life. Skydive Utah told Fox that they receive at least one request per week from someone who is over 80 years old.
Earlier this year, People Magazine reported on a 100-year-old World War II veteran who skydived in Arizona. 100-year-old Charlie Montanaro immediately told onlookers on the ground that he was ready for a second jump after he landed.
In October 2020, a 103-year-old veteran checked skydiving off of her bucket list, according to People. Two presidents honored WWII veteran First Lieutenant Vivian ‘Millie’ Bailey before she had the opportunity to jump out of a plane.
By jumping, Bailey became the oldest person to every skydive. She described the experience as “a thrill.”
Make Skydiving Charitable Again
There are several organizations that help veterans and senior citizens carry out their skydiving dreams.
One organization, Jump for Valor, aims to “better the lives of veterans through participation in skydiving and aerial sports,” according to its website.
My Jump, a nonprofit out of California, helps many senior citizens experience their first skydive. The organization includes “jumpisodes” on its website. The videos capture testimonials of previous participants and will hopefully inspire others to “make their dreams come true,” the group says on its website.