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Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.

Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re 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 Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder 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.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at 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.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

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. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

Comments on: "Who Packed Your Parachute" (7)

  1. This is a good reminder of how we take so many people for granted whether they be major or minor in our lives. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind, grateful, or thoughtful towards people that we know and to people that we don’t. Thank you for posting this, Cherokee Billie.

    • dear Anna:
      it is true that we often take people for granted and we need to be more aware of those around us . I appreciate your comment.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  2. It is so true how we do take people for granted.You should always acknowledge what is done for you because one seemingly small act could effect your whole life.

    Thanks Cherokee, bless you.

    • dear Tarryn:
      very true about showing appreciation for even the smallest acts of kindness. As always I appreciate your comments.
      Many blessings,

  3. Your immediate family are your first parachute packers. It goes on from there.

    • dear Mike:
      it is true about your family being the first parachute packers. I have lost all my family and feel that I have to make sure my parachute is packed. The responsibility falls on me. Thank you so much for comment.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  4. Love this story………;-) Susanxoxo

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