No shit, there I was. My unit had just returned from a 15 month deployment in Afghanistan. As usual with the 82nd, part of our "welcome home training" was a "Hollywood" day time jump after attending Airborne Refresher Training. I was the Assistant Jumpmaster for a jump onto Luzon Drop Zone on Camp McKall. I gave all the jump commands and time warning and had turned to face out the open door of the C-130. Door check no issues, found my one minute and 30 second reference points with no problem. I turned to face the jumpers and gave the command "Standby". This tells the first jumper to stand in the door. In the few seconds that it took to issue "Standby" and look back out the door, the autopilot on the plane went out. My door is now, suddenly facing the ground. I do everything I can to keep the jumper from falling out the door and the plane corrects and we go back for another pass over the Drop Zone.
The attempt goes fine and 15 of the 30 jumpers on my side of the plane jump. We circle around and the remaining 15 jumpers and myself jump. All parachutes open and I'm coming down nice and slow (that is the ONLY advantage of jumping in 92% humidity and 99 degrees). I look below to see where I'm about to land and see that I'm going to land in an improved drainage ditch (hard packed ditch with a vinyl liner) that runs through the Drop Zone. I tried everything I could to avoid the ditch (turning, facing away from the wind to have it push me away) and nothing worked. Needless to say I landed in the ditch. I thought I broke both legs. It was by far the HARDEST I have ever landed with a T-10 parachute. At any rate I rolled out of the ditch and was drug face down over some scrub oak bushes that lined the ditch.
My first instinct after getting drug was to check my legs. Nothing broken!!! I start taking off the parachute and look down and see a few drops of blood on my reserve parachute that was strapped across my abdomen. I didn't think anything of it; scratches are fairly common on this drop zone. I started pulling my parachute in and one of the suspension lines gets caught on something near my right eye. I reach up and feel something sticking out of my face. I stop packing up my equipment and call for a medic. At this time the Primary Jumpmaster (who landed about 100 feet from me) calls over if I'm ok. All I said was, "I can't get it out". He thought I was talking about a safety wire used to keep the reserve parachute claps closed so it doesn't accidently fall off and said "Hold on, I have a Gerber we can cut it with". Not thinking, my only response was "OK".
The Primary Jumpmaster and the Parachute Riggers all show up at my location at the same time and all go into panic mode. I didn't know why. All I knew is I was stuck by something , but there was no pain. Turns out, that as I was drug through the bushes a branch and gone through my cheek about 1/4 inch below my eye and come back out about 1/2 inch below where it went in.
Needless to say, I ended up with an ambulance ride back to Fort Bragg hospital. Accompanying me in the ambulance was a jumper who had broken his leg. (It's a rough drop zone). Once we get to the hospital, obviously the jumper with the broken leg gets wheeled in first (I could walk). As I'm walking down the hall an ER nurse come up ask what my issue and freaked when she saw the stick in my face.
Because of the nature of my injury I was put in a separate room. A nurse comes in, takes my vital signs and asks the normal battery of questions: Am I taking medication, do I have any allergies, normal questions. He asks if I'm in an abusive relationship and I couldn't help myself. My response was "Yes, with a scrub oak". He put the clipboard down and that was the last time I saw him. Soon after it was a steady stream of surgeons coming in to take a look because it was a unique injury.
During this time my Company Commander and First Sergeant show up to check on me. I talked to them for a while and they left. About an hour later they come back into the room and hand me a stack of papers and tell me "Read this and sign at the bottom". When they do this the doctor had removed the stick from my face (it was about the size of a Sharpie pen) and was pulling splinters out. I start to read the document and realize that it is an Article 15 packet for an "unauthorized face piercing". My only response was "What the fuck?" all they said was "Got you bitch" and walked out of the room.
Luckily I had a Company Commander and First Sergeant with a sense of humor like mine and it was their way of relieving stress.
I still have the stick and two 1/4 inch scars just below my right eye on my cheek bone. No further damage to my face and was back up in the plane for another jump the following day.