Navy SEALs love telling war stories, and to be fair, they’re pretty great at it. The latest comes from Andy Stumpf, a 17-year Navy SEAL veteran and jumpmaster who is the world record holder for longest distance traversed in a wingsuit (18 miles?!).
This past week, Stumpf joined comedian Bryan Callen and UFC Heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub on their podcast, “The Fighter and the Kid,” to talk about being in the military and jumping out of planes.
And he graced us with an amazing story of secret SEAL operations in an unnamed foreign land that Stumpf calls “a galaxy far, far away.” (It sounds an awful lot like Af-Pak, but what do I know?)
Let’s set the scene: Stumpf and his team of Navy SEALs have to insert themselves … somewhere … undetected. So they decide to jump at high altitude and glide to their target under open canopies under the cover of night.
For this mission, they have a local interpreter with them. It turns out that it’s not just his first time jumping out of an airplane; it’s his first time in an airplane.
As a jumpmaster, Stumpf is given the task of tandem jumping with the interpreter, and the jump has to be executed perfectly. Because the special operators are going to be gliding under canopy, they have to jump out of the airplane in quick succession. Otherwise, there will be too much distance between the jumpers. But when it comes time for Stumpf and the interpreter to jump, the interpreter has second thoughts, and “starts clawing like a cat that’s wet to get a hold of the side of the aircraft.”
Stumpf eventually gets the man out of the plane, but they’re flipping and falling through the air, and by the time Stumpf gets the parachute open, they’re a distance away from the rest of the team. Worse yet, Stumpf’s navigation and communication equipment got jammed between him and his interpreter friend. He has no idea where he is.
What follows is an incredible story of Stumpf trying to navigate this parachute (he eventually gets the GPS back, but it factory resets and says he’s over Hong Kong), the interpreter freaking out and trying to climb up the cords of the parachute, and Stumpf having to knock the man out so he can stay alive.
And then there’s the vomit.
The whole story is a little long, but Stumpf is quite the wordsmith, and it unfolds beautifully.
Give it a watch below, the story starts at 36 minutes in.