Who Packs Your Parachute


Captain Charles Plum, a US Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam.

After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Capt. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured & spent six years in a Communist prison.

Capt. Plumb survived that ordeal and now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Capt. Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said…..

“You’re Capt. Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Capt. Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Capt. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Capt. Plumb assured him, “It sure did-if your ‘chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Capt. Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man.

Capt. Plumb says, ‘I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform-a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning, how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a Sailor.

Capt. Plumb thought of the many hours the Sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. We need to recognize people who pack our parachute.

NOTE: Captain Charles Plum is now a popular motivational speaker, and was asked by the media and several other organizations if this story was true. Captain Plum assured them that it was.


3 thoughts on “Who Packs Your Parachute

  1. Pingback: Who Packs Your Parachute — Tales of an Asia Sailor – On the Patio

  2. My father-in-law was a WW2 parachute rigger on the USS Cowpens aircraft carrier. We spoke of his service once over some beers and he told me what a great feeling it was when he learned that a chute he packed saved a pilot’s life. He said that pilot hugged him so hard he lost his breath. Later the pilot gave him a bottle of scotch as a thank you. He never had scotch before but it became his drink of choice from that point on. PR1 John German US Navy


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