DAVIS-MOTHAN AFB, AZ (Nathan Barbour) – Master Sgt. David Biddinger, 563rd Rescue Group jumpmaster course instructor, had experience working at the school in Yuma before being stationed at D-M about four years ago.
“We realized that the Air Force had a need for the jumpmaster course,” Biddinger said. “Working with contacts in U.S. Special Operations Command and at the MFFS, we were able to convince the Army and Air Force of that need.”
During an approximately 3 1/2 year process, Biddinger worked with the 68th Rescue Flight/Guardian Angel Formal Training Unit to establish a new SOCOM approved course at D-M.
“Getting officially recognized by the Army and SOCOM as a validated course is special, it is a difficult standard to attain,” Biddinger said. “This is the only Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course in the Air Force and it’s one of two in the Department of Defense.”
The course will graduate 12 Airmen at the end of its fifth 3-week-long rotation; reaching a total number of 58 certified jumpmasters.
“Before this course we only had the option of attending the school in Yuma,” Biddinger said. “We only saw about 28 slots per year spread between all the different groups that jump in the Air Force.”
The course is intended to train mid-level NCOs and officers. Students vary from tactical air control party specialists, combat controllers, pararescuemen, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists from all different commands.
“I go back to my unit as a freefall jumpmaster,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan, 321st Special Tactics Squadron combat controller. “Anytime my unit has a jump, I’ll either be the primary person in charge of all the coordination or the assistant.”
During each free fall, the success of the mission and the lives of others are in the hands of the jumpmasters.
“We’re training special operations Airmen to be able to deploy personnel out of the aircraft safely and ensure that those guys reach the ground to do their mission.” Biddinger said. “Whether the mission involves rescuing someone, calling in airstrikes, or recovering downed equipment or aircraft.”