Hiram's First and Last Jump

by David N. Muxo

During WWII Hiram Muxo was drafted into the Army. In 1943 after his induction, he boarded a train bound for Florida from New York City, ordered to report for duty in one of the Carolinas. He fell asleep and missed his stop, and when he awakened he approached an officer and wanted to get off of the train. The officer instead changed his orders and told him that he was now in the Army Air Corps. Hiram went to Miami for basic training. Later that year Hiram went to B-17 school in Amarillo, Texas, where he met Ada McPherson, completed Gunnary School at Wendover Field, Utah, and joined the 52nd Bombardment Squadron at Gowen Field, Idaho as Instructor Aerial Engineer. There he flew with Jimmy Stewart (the actor) as his commanding officer and pilot. Hiram later went to OCS, but the war in Europe ended several weeks before his graduation date of June 15, 1944. He then was transferred to Drew Field, Tampa as Aircraft Crew Chief until he was honorably discharged in 1946.

Toward the end of his life Hiram recounted the story of his only parachute jump. One morning he was walking toward his plane for the day's flight when an officer he did not know ordered him to another plane. Dutifully he boarded with the other soldiers, all of whom were wearing parachutes. The plane took off, and after some time the soldiers were told to prepare to jump. The door was opened, and they all, including Hiram, shuffled to the door and jumped. The others were parachutists on a training jump, and Hiram was trapped among them and had no choice but go with them. Because he flew as part of an airplane crew, he did have jump training from a tower, but he had never jumped from an airplane before. And it was a low-level jump to boot.

This story astounded me when I first heard it because I considered my father to be the last person in the world to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. And yet, his whole life was about doing what needed to be done. I should not have been surprised.