Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

By | January 20, 2024

[January 20, 2024]  A good friend, a Vietnam Veteran, passed a story along to me yesterday.  I was about a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam who was shot down, captured and spent six years in a Communist Vietnamese prison.  His name is Charles Plumb, and he wrote about by asking, who’s packing your parachute?

One day, this retired pilot was sitting at a restaurant when a man came up and said, “You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk.  You were shot down!” Astounded by this man’s knowledge, Charles asked the man how he knew that.  The man said, “I packed your parachute.”

Charles couldn’t sleep that night trying to figure out who this man was.  He thought that maybe he had seen the man but not even said “Good morning, how are you?” or anything.  Besides, Charles was a Navy officer pilot, and this guy was just a sailor.  Sometimes, you put your life in the hands of people you don’t even know or maybe don’t even appreciate.

Charles now travels and gives lectures.  He asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”  Many folks provide us with what we need to make it through the day.  Moving through life, sometimes we miss those who are essential.  Charles’ message is to recognize those people who pack your parachutes.

Good story.

Who’s packing your parachute?

NOTE: More information on this article can be found in a Forbes article (link here) dated November 18, 2015.  My article’s thumbnail is from this article and has the same name.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

  1. Lady Hawk

    BTW, Gen. Satterfield, this is a great story and I do appreciate it. When will be your next letter to your granddaughter? I’m starting to have withdrawal pains.

    1. mainer

      Don’t we all? His letters are great. But on this article, Gen. Satterfield is telling us about how we are truly connected to more people than we might otherwise think. That is something to contemplate when it comes to our behavior in public. Many tell us to respect all people….. WRONG. Maybe we should be kind to folks until they prove they don’t deserve it. Respect is for those who earn it.

  2. Gil Johnson

    Hey, guys, don’t forget that Gen. Satterfield’s blog is now over 10 years old and going strong. He keeps giving us great content, and I like it most when those same articles are funny or making fun of someone like the sec of def Lloyd Austin (a diversity hire according to Gen. S). Now that idiot is in trouble but he works for a worse idiot Joe Biden who gets lost on a small stage and cannot read his lines without stuttering or falling asleep. 😊

  3. Eye Cat

    Global warming is coming. Proof is that global warming is making this winter so frigid. Proof positive. Just go outside and you will feel it for yourself.

    1. Jessica Luden

      Yes, Gen. Satterfield also makes me laugh too at the climate crazies. They are there, I think, just to give us something to laugh about when we are down and out or depressed.

    2. Julia

      Ahhh, a bit of sarcasm to wake us up in the morning. Well, I must admit that reading articles by Gen. Doug Satterfield has a lot to do with increasing my brain power (just kidding) but his books and articles are enough to keep me straight on that narrow path that he keeps talking about.

    1. Guns are Us

      Me too. All these stories that Gen. Doug Satterfield tells are part of his personal philosophy to tell stories of good people doing good things. And, make them interesting to hold the interest of those who have no other reason to read it. That is what distinguishes the good from the great leaders. Just like Gen. S., he is one of the great leaders.

  4. USA Patriot II

    NOTE: More information on this article can be found in a Forbes article (link here) dated November 18, 2015. My article’s thumbnail is from this article and has the same name.

    I read the original story and thank you Gen. Satterfield for posting the link to the original. Lots of lessons here for being a human with common sense. I think Gen. S. does give us stories like this because he is a real American Patriot.

  5. Wilson Cox

    Great story, heard it before but always good to read on oldie but goodie.

    1. Edward G.

      Yeah, heard it too but I always like to read things like this. You never ever know who you are going to meet on the streets that you have somehow connected with in the past and in an important manner.


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