PFC Christopher F. Dona – RIP, Ranger

| June 16, 2013 | 27 Comments

We lost a fine soldier last Thursday.

PFC Christopher P. Dona, 1st Bn, 75th Ranger Regiment, was killed Thursday. He died in a training parachute jump.

In one of life’s cruel ironies, PFC Dona had returned from his first combat deployment to Afghanistan last month.

The incident is under investigation. Initial reports were that PFC Dona’s parachute appeared to work normally during the jump. However, he was also reportedly dragged for a considerable distance (approx 100m) on the ground post-landing, and was also reportedly found entangled in his chute’s static suspension lines and straps from a “harness” used during the jump.

Military training is often high-risk, with little margin between safety and injury. This is another reminder that when things go wrong, even routine training can be deadly.

RIP, my brother-in-arms. May God comfort your surviving family and friends.

Category: Real Soldiers

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  1. Sparks says:

    Rest In Peace PFC. Christopher F. Dona. A young warrior, gone too soon.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Died with his boots on. R.I.P. PFC Christopher. Next time….

  3. NHSparky says:

    Rest easy soldier.

  4. Smitty says:

    ive seen jumps go dead wrong and people walk away with out injury, and ones that look routine and ya get broken bones. tragic to hear this and i hope the cause is found.

    RIP PFC Dona RLTW

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ow. My condolences.

  6. AW1 Tim says:

    Helluva thing, that. May God hold him close, and may His Angels of Mercy bring solace to his family and friends.

  7. RangerX says:

    Lost another combat vet Ranger in a similar incident 10 years ago. Proving once again that even in training your life is at risk.

    RIP Ranger. See you at the ORP….

  8. Green Thumb says:

    RIP, Ranger.

    RLTW.

  9. rb325th says:

    RIP Ranger Dona. Airborne!!

    I hate to nitpick, but if he was tangled in anything it was his risers and suspension lines, not Static Line(s). A Static Line is the line that is used to open the chute, it is attached to the pack tray cover and then in the aircraft it is attached to a cable. Upon exit the Static Line extends to its full length, removing the pack tray cover allowing the chute to deploy. It remains connected to the cable in the aircraft.
    Having been drug on the ground before it is not a fun experience, but one we practiced for. I suspect if he was tangled up in his suspension lines that things went badly on exit, or the chute collapsed on top of him then reinflated..
    In any case, his death is a tragic reminder of just how dangerous our jobs are or were as the case may be. Training had it share of lethal risks.

  10. Sparks says:

    Anytime you jump, your life is at risk. Combat or training. I am sad we lost such a young warrior. God bless and bring comfort to his family.

  11. Jabatam says:

    RIP young Warrior

  12. O-4E says:

    RIP

    I am sitting at home right now..6 weeks of convalescent leave from shoulder surgery on Friday.

    From an injury on a training jump that happened 12 years ago now…which was also the result of getting drug

    It is indeed dangerous. We just make it look easy.

  13. pete says:

    RIP young man your with God now

  14. Smitty says:

    @9, if it was his static line, it means he was hung exitting the air craft. remember all those warnings about handing the static line off to the jump master, not throwing it? good chance, this is why.

    @12, i got out of the army because of a training jump. i broke my back in 3 places landing on tar mac. propper jump and opening, just caught a wind gust that put me in the wrong place.

  15. Al T. says:

    We are diminished. RIP Ranger.

  16. B Woodman says:

    RIP, Ranger Dona. Fair winds and a safe DZ with G-d’s Airborne Paratroops.

  17. DirtDart says:

    Guys- If they found static lines in his chute: We got a prob. Being a SME on the subject- And not having access to all the data. Here is a possible scenario.

    Jumper had moderate to high winds- he had a hard landing. Possible hard head hit, possibly knocked out or really disorientated. The winds picked up inflating his T11 main- (due to the nature of material the T11 main is made from) semi inflated and suspension lines wrapped around his neck and pulled taught strangling him as he was dragged. Until he was stopped.

    If my buddies are right the most impressive thing I see out of the his whole sad ordeal. Is what happened after. I give honor due to the Regiment for the respect shown: is how his PL, PLT SGT, SQ LDR, Team LDR and an E4 and few other brother Rangers carried him off the DZ to the EMS unit after he was clear to remove the body. They told the EMS and Investigators that they would Move him. I am moved and honored to have served and supported the Ranger Regiment

  18. rb325th says:

    I think all of us who jumped as a part of our living in the military have experience the close calls… Why we got paid the “big bucks” and got to wear the beret before they decided to make everyone feel “special”.
    His death is tragic, and the story relayed by Dirt Dart of his Brothers carrying him from the DZ is what kept so many of us there. I was not a Ranger but the Brotherhood was not much different in my time in the Airborne. Brothers til the end.

  19. A Proud Infidel & Patriot says:

    Another Warrior taken before his time.
    Another Fallen Warrior now guarding the Gates of heaven.

    Rest in Peace, Soldier.

  20. MrBill says:

    Rest in peace, young man.

  21. beretverde says:

    I had a few jumps at Taylor Creek and was dragged once on Luzon. This hits home. Damn.

  22. Jilly says:

    My condolences to his friends and family.

  23. Hondo says:

    rb325th: thanks for catching that error; it’s now fixed. Meant to write “suspension lines”, but had the proverbial brain cramp and wrote “static line” instead. Coffee apparently still had not become fully effective when I wrote the article.

  24. LebbenB says:

    @17. We had a similar incident at Bragg back in 06. An officer from 20th En Bde had a hard landing on the FLS at Normandy DZ that knocked his ACH off. He was then dragged down the DZ and subsequent impacts to his head killed him. He was jumping a -1D and winds were high.

    Clear skies, gentle breezes, and soft landings. RIP, Ranger.

  25. Mike says:

    Rip to the Ranger. It’s an honor to know you served.

  26. PintoNag says:

    We are better for this man having walked among us. May he rest in peace.

  27. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    A Ranger’s Prayer

    I pray that I need never teach

    Our son how to take a beach.

    Where obstacles and mines abound

    And bullets patter all around.

    I pray that he need never face

    Machine gun fire from a hidden place

    With artillery churning up the sand

    And smoke obscuring all the land.

    I pray that he need not perspire

    From the heat of an LSI on fire,

    Or see an LCA go down

    While some men swim, and some men drown.

    I pray that he need not dig in

    To escape the shells that search for him.

    Or, sprinting across a hedgerow’s gap,

    Midway, feel a bullet’s slap.

    I pray that he may see the sky

    Without barrage balloons riding high.

    Or hear a whistle somewhere round

    Without dropping to the ground.

    I pray that he need never hear

    The whistle of bombs that fall too near.

    Then lie beneath the rain of stones

    That crush men’s flesh and smash men’s bones.

    I pray that he need never roam

    O’er land and sea so far from home.

    But laugh and love and take a wife

    To love and cherish all his life.

    —– Victor J. ‘Baseplate’ Miller

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