SKYDIVING WITH COL SHEA - by U.S.N.A. Parachute Team
“Who talked you into it?”, asked Will Voorheis of Bobbi Shea, as she stood in front of the video camera in her pre-skydive interview. “This guy right here!”, she responded; pointing to Ryan Hill, Captain of the USNA Parachute Team. Bobbi was beaming, ready to board the aircraft for her first freefall skydive on 10/5/14; having made several military static-lines previously.
COL Roberta Shea, Deputy Commandant of the U. S. Naval Academy, is a combat veteran Marine officer, and Academy graduate, who first enlisted in the ranks. She has served her country in the military for more than 24 years, perhaps achieving highest prominence as the Commander of the only unit that transforms young civilian women into Marines. Previously, she was awarded a ’01 – ’02 White House Fellowship during the tenure of President George Bush and was most recently selected as the 2011 HONOR graduate from The Association of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Her combat action medal for service in Iraq and Afghanistan is testament to the spirit which drove her to extreme behavior, typified by her trip to the Skydive Delmarva Drop Zone with her husband, retired Marine LTC Nick Slavik, to answer an invitation by the USNAPT to ‘come and skydive with us’.
Displaying exemplary officer demeanor, verve, and confidence, she endured the inevitable close scrutiny by the Team, the DZ administration, and ultimately her Jumpmaster. Exhibiting a persuasive attitude, she boarded the aircraft with 15 other persons … husband in the copilot’s seat, and prepared for takeoff.
At 14,500 ft. altitude, with the door open, Jake Best and Ryan Hill, wearing double ankle red smoke took up exit positions outside at the rear of the door, while freefall videographer Will occupied the forward float position on the exterior of the aircraft. Bobbi and her Jumpmaster, securely harnessed together, kneeled in the center of the door and led the exit. Approximately 45 seconds later, Jake and Ryan connected with the COL, forming a 4-way piece (in skydiver parlance). Shortly after, her parachute opened and she assisted with steering to the landing area, receiving a hearty welcome from the other USNAPT skydivers on the load. The event was capped off with the awarding of a certificate for first freefall skydive.