SOFREP is proud to present its guest author, Zachary Mayne, veteran of 3rd Ranger Battalion. Welcome, Zachary!
Five weeks after being wounded by a burst of high-explosive rounds in combat, I was hooking up my static line for a daylight, Hollywood jump over Fryar DZ. My wounds had healed quickly, it seemed. The sight had returned to my right eye within hours of being blinded, and the shrapnel lodged in my cornea was easily removed. The pinholes that dotted my right leg hadn’t caused compartment syndrome and my limp was gone within a few weeks. But as I patted the Ranger in front of me and shouted, “Okay!” over the roar of the C-130’s engines, I realized that everything was not “okay.”
My heart was beating against the inside of my ribs like it wanted to break free. My skin was clammy, my hands were shaking, and my breath was shallow and hoarse. In perhaps the calmest and lowest-risk conditions of any jump in my career, I felt certain that I was about to die. After muscle memory carried me out the door and my canopy deployed, I vomited into the – empty, thankfully – air beneath me. It was the first of many panic attacks that I would experience during the following training cycle, though I didn’t know to call them that at the time.
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