An emailer recalls an epic adventure, involving a certain candidate whose heroism under fire we've all come to respect: "I remember back in 1978 when I was in Airborne School at Ft. Benning. We were on our night jump, the last before we would graduate and get our coveted wings. Once again, I was scared to death and just wanted it all to be over. I could smell the acrid sweat from the men in my stick as they waited behind me. Whatever had possessed me to volunteer for this?
"As a newly minted officer fresh from OCS, I was first in the door of the C-130 and stood in the freezing blast of the turboprops for a full minute as I waited for the light to turn green and the Go command from the Jumpmaster. A partial moon allowed me to see the drop zone approaching about 1000 feet below and the lights of Columbus, Georgia, fade into the distance beyond. The chute, reserve, weapons and kit bags made a heavy burden, but my heart lightened as I remembered this would be the last jump before graduation and the beginning of a long awaited leave and trip home to see my girl.
"I saw the green light and heard a faint 'Go!' from the Jumpmaster over the roar of the engines, and tucked my head down, grabbed my reserve, and leaped into the darkness. "One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand," I yelled to myself as I waited for the opening shock of the chute. The shock came, but as I looked up to check the canopy all I could see were stars and I was being pummeled with hurricane-force winds. My chute had caught on the tail and instead of floating gently to the ground I was being dragged through the air at more than a hundred and twenty miles an hour! I tried to cut away and deploy my reserve, but the capewells were frozen somehow and I was stuck. I swayed through the air back and forth behind the aircraft, coming perilously close to the fuselage. Unless I could cut away clean, I faced certain death.
"Then, in one of the most distinguishing acts of valor I have ever witnessed, Hillary Clinton emerged from the jump door and crawled feet first down the fuselage toward the tail with no regard whatever for her own safety. She wore a chute, but even still, one slip and she would hurtle into the tail and almost certainly buy the farm. She reached the vertical stabilizer at the rear of the aircraft, took the knife strapped to her web gear, and starting sawing away at the tangled shroud lines of my chute. One by one, they snapped as she cut them and I finally fell away from the aircraft. I pulled the D-handle on my reserve and was rewarded with a satisfying jolt and pop that signaled the blessed opening of the canopy. Half a minute later, I kissed the sweet earth and said a silent prayer for the brave woman who had saved me. I wondered what had happened to her?
"Instead of crawling back to the door of the plane, Hillary had leaped after me and landed a few feet away seconds later. I popped out of my harness and ran to her, held her in my arms in a bearhug, and gave her the biggest kiss of her life. It was her courage and quick thinking that had saved both my life and the other men aboard the plane. I knew then that she was someone special. It was this selfless courage and unwavering strength of purpose that years later would pay off for her under enemy fire.
"This is a true story, I swear."