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WWII jump school happening in Frederick

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FREDERICK, OK (KSWO) - About two dozen people from around the world are gathered in Frederick to jump out of a WWII airplane.

It's part of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team's Summer 2017 Jump School. The students go through a 10-day course that includes extensive classroom and hands-on training before they parachute out of a WWII C-47 plane. They'll get to make several jumps during their training.

This summer’s class includes a person from Spain, people from all over the United States and even one woman who just recently graduated from the United States Naval Academy.

Claire Clark graduated from the Naval Academy in the spring of 2017 and knew she had a little bit of time before she would be sent to her first assignment. She said she heard about the jump school from her college hockey coach.

"It looked awesome and I just find history fascinating and just the combination of getting to do something really cool and learn more about history, I couldn't pass it up,” Clark said.

Clark and the other students go through several days of rigorous safety training before even getting onto a plane. Thursday morning, she and the others were finally able to make their first jump.

"It doesn't really hit you until you stand up and hook up in the aircraft,” Clark said. “Then it's a rush out of the plane, a lot of noise and then just silence as you're hanging in the air. It's really peaceful, really still."

Clark said the jump school was particularly special because her grandpa served during WWII.

"It makes me feel like I have a connection to him and understand his experience more,” Clark said. “I've always grown up respecting him and this just kind of deepens that."

Jump school finishes this weekend but Clark said she won't be grounded for very long. In September, she will move to Pensacola, Florida to train to become a Navy pilot.

"It's pretty remarkable, I have a whole new respect for everyone who was involved,” Clark said. “The other day we got a tour of the cockpit of the aircraft and that was fascinating to see where aviation has come. I'm excited to be the next generation of aviators."

The public is invited out to the jump school's open hangar day Saturday, July 22. It runs from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., with the students' graduation ceremony taking place at 2 p.m. Each student who successfully passed the course will have their wings pinned on by a WWII veteran.

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