More punishment for paratrooper who jumped with fish

The paratrooper who celebrated his upcoming departure from the Army by jumping with his pet Siamese fighting fish โ€” and whose selfie of the act later went viral on social media โ€” 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.

via More punishment for paratrooper who jumped with fish.

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.

14 thoughts on “More punishment for paratrooper who jumped with fish”

  1. I can only imagine what the stiffs who handed out that Article 15 would have thought of the “Fini Flight” tradition the aerial gunners had in the old Pave Low community (on your last flight as a gunner, you stripped down buck naked and fired either the .50 cal or the 7.62 mini-gun off the tail ramp. With pictures, of course.)

    But that was back when being in the military was still kind of fun. God knows what it will be like in a year or two at this rate….

  2. You sure have a hyper-accurate grasp…sure you’re a NAP (Non Airborne Personnel)?? It’s a great picture though I would never condone such actions…parachuting’s serious business ya’ll!!!

    1. When I was at Benning for Master Gunner’s School, I stayed in the Guest House in the old barracks right across the street from Jump School’s towers. We’d sit on grass in lawn chairs and watch the Black Hats run the students and watch the tower jumps. I learned a lot via that. Mostly that Benning is a lot more fun when attending a gentlemen’s course than OSUT.

  3. “thatโ€™s not punishment, but rather training, and thus not double jeopardy”

    Ah, good times. I actually enjoyed (and learned something from) some of that extra training, which didn’t make the 1st Sgt. too happy.

  4. Xbrad – know well of the bleachers you’re talking about…even the most observant can only glean so much from that location. No sir, your knowledge transcends into Airborne Inf TOE institutional detail and thus I can’t buy all of the “bleachers” mode of learning…a lot, not all. I thinks perhaps you have a resident expert in your pocket or you’re a Master Blaster and not saying so.

    1. He always made a point of removing the jump wings when he had his pic taken while he was in. Brad showed great foresight in the matter as he knew he was going to have this blog years later.

  5. I can’t believe they are still using shot & 1/2 Capewells.
    That is just crazy! 1950’s technology.
    Parachuting is long past that.
    Why is the Army using ‘Gutter Gear?”

  6. ChrisP – actually “Shot and a half” canopy releases are about right for T-11’s going back to other members of the “troop, back, canopy.” There are of course more efficient releases and originally the T-11 was to be equipped with Bill Booth’s 3 Ring release (in civilian parachuting use since the 70’s), but the Army in its dis-infinite took that system and “improved” it making it unsafe and then reverting to the shot a a a half’s. The “improvement” involved an aluminum cover that then covered the 3 – Ring and things started going south.

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