The paratrooper who celebrated his upcoming departure from the Army by jumping with his pet Siamese fighting fish — and whose selfie of the act later went viral on social media — will serve 12 days of extra duty before closing out his time in uniform.
Spc. Matthew Tattersall, who is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, received a company-grade Article 15, with the extra duty as punishment.
I’m a leg, so I don’t normally comment too much on Airborne matters.
Safety matters, a great deal. It would have been a damn shame if SPC Tattersall or one of his fellow soldiers had been injured because of this.
Look, everyone knows everyone takes at least one selfie on a jump sometime. For that matter, there are plenty of pics and youtube videos posted of POV jumps.
And this was SPC Tattersall’s last jump. It was, for him at least, a “Hollywood” jump, without the encumbrance of a weapon and a rucksack. And one suspects that while he might not be a Senior or Master Parachutist, he’s probably got enough jumps under his belt to have a fair idea what he’s doing by now.
As to his 1000 word essay, please note that in the eyes of the Army, that’s not punishment, but rather training, and thus not double jeopardy.
We have a sneaking suspicion that SPC Tattersall is “that guy.” The member in good standing of the E-4 Mafia that is a bit of a clown. A solid citizen that does what is required of him, but has never treated the Army as seriously as the Army likes to be treated.
One also strongly suspects that SPC Tattersall received an Article 15 not so much for his own actions, but as a shot across the bow of the next guy. One guy doing something silly is one thing. But young men, being young men, particularly in the era of viral social media, often attempt a little one-upsmanship. Where this incident was not a gross violation of safety, the next time might not be so benign.
Still, SPC Tattersall seems to have the right frame of mind to cope with extra duty (it’s unpleasant, but no one ever died from mopping the battalion headquarters) and we wish him the best upon his transition back to civilian life.
And best wishes to Willy Did Makeit.