Home' Army News : July 7th 2011 Contents FEATURES 27
Army July 7, 2011
TAKING a leap of faith
is one thing, but 3RAR's
parachuting Padre, aka
the 'Paradre', has man-
aged his fear of heights and taken
his role within the battalion a step
further by becoming a qualified
Only a month after completing
the basic parachuting course, Chap
Kent Williams, 48, successfully
conducted his 10th jump during
Exercise Kapyong Warrior.
Chap Williams joined the Army
as a chaplain in 2003, marched into
3RAR last year and said parachut-
ing was like adventure training on
"I was filming the guys jump-
ing out of the aircraft one day and I
thought, 'I've gotta be a part of this
before I get too old and crippled',
so I went ahead and did the course,"
Chap Williams said.
"During my first jump I was
absolutely terrified because I don't
"Since then the fear factor has
faded slightly but I'm still scared
when I jump.
"For me, the whole experience
is frightening. When you exit the
aircraft you're meant to be counting
in your mind, '1000, 2000, 3000',
but I'm thinking 's**t, s**t, s**t'."
Parachuting Padre Chap Kent Williams talks to Cpl Melanie
Schinkel about jumping with the men he ministers.
On a wing
and a prayer
Leap of faith: Chap Kent Williams, 3RAR, jumps out
of a Hercules during Exercise Kapyong Warrior in
Townsville (above) as 3RAR personnel conduct a para
insertion into High Range (right).
Photos by Cpl Melanie Schinkel and Cpl Christopher Dickson
Although Chap Williams still
dreads heights, parachuting has
helped him control his phobia.
"The anxiety will never erode or
disappear completely, but parachut-
ing helps me manage it.
"Now, when I jump I have a
presence of mind. Despite my fear
I can still function and carry out my
task, which is a great feeling.
"On a few occasions I have
thought, 'I just don't want to do
this', but then the guy in front of
you is out the door and you're next.
"You can't stop because there
are guys behind you waiting to go,
so you're going whether it's under
your own volition or not.
"Besides, I don't want the
troops saying, 'remember when we
had to kick the Padre in the back to
get him out the door'.
"I'm going to follow the lads,
one way or another. It's amazing
that you can jump out of an aircraft
and then get up and walk away."
He said being a paratrooper also
assisted him in his primary role as
the battalion's chaplain.
"I think it's important for a per-
son in my role to understand what
the troops are going through. That's
the way I operate -- in amongst it, in
the grassroots, because it helps me
do my job better.
He said being a chaplain was all
about building relationships.
"Once the soldiers see what
you're capable of and understand
that you're in there with them, it
breaks down a stack of barriers.
"They get to know you and as
a result they feel more comfortable
talking to you when they need a
friendly ear."More Kapyong Warrior
coverage -- centrepiece
Nerves of steel: Chap Kent
Williams gets ready to jump.
Photo by Cpl Melanie Schinkel
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