Devens Jump Accidents
Kevin O'Brien

There was a fatal on the DZ in September 1981. Two jumpers (Gary Ferrera and Miguel Mitchell) collided underneath the a/c (jumping doors, 130). Gary Ferrera was a 96B in MI Co. and Mitchell was a Platoon Sergeant in Signal company. Mitchell appeared to be unconscious and the drill in those days was upper guy climb down and lower guy pull. After screaming at Mitchell to pull, Ferrera pulled his reserve and got chute at 75 feet AGL. Mitchell tore free, bounced, and was briefly conscious after impact. There were delays getting him to the hospital and he was DOA at Cutler Army Hospital. They judged that even if he had dropped into the ER rather than the DZ his injuries were unsurvivable anyway. THAT was a very bloody scene.

I remember being warned of the dangers of reserve activation in JM school in 83, 84 and 85 (ouch, painful admission) but never got a blood story to go with it and it's hard to believe such a teaching point would have been overlooked. I wonder if you're combining Mitchell's death with the Captain that landed in McDonald's.

Todd Sutherland *did* cut an ear partway off on exit once, and the AF did bitch about blood all over their 130. The DZ medic was upset that Todd wouldn't let him suture the ear but wanted to go to the hospital. At the hospital they sutured the ear and gave him an IV because he had lost enough blood to be woozy... it was everywhere. Amazing how much one little ear can bleed.