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Soldiers Take Strange Shapes as They Drop From a C-17 Globemaster III

A quick look at the main photo of this piece might have you believe this is the poster for some upcoming video game shooter, a new installment of Battlefield, or perhaps Call of Duty. Then you take a closer look, and you realize this thing is for real.
C-17 Globemaster III dropping paratroopers in Alaska, August 2022 7 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Patrick Sullivan
C-17 Globemaster III cold start in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in AlaskaC-17 Globemaster III taking off from runway in Alaska
That’s right, the C-17 Globemaster III diving further into the clouds ahead of it, as if swallowed by nothingness, the parachutes about to open, and the figures in strange postures, they’re all real.

First, about what we actually have here. The photo, recently released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), was snapped at the end of August over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, more precisely at the Malemute drop zone. The pic captures an instance of an airborne operation flight conducted by the soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division (aka Arctic Angels). For their mission, they had to jump out of a perfectly fine C-17 Globemaster III.

And they did just that, and it was probably serious business, but the postures this image captured the soldiers in make us wonder if the paratroopers didn’t decide to pose for the camera, or for the fun of it. That, or this is one strange manifestation of pareidolia.

From the bottom up, these eyes see the following: a couple of cows (or whatever animal your mind phantoms) fighting for balance and a glimpse of terra firma as they dangle from their parachutes, heads down; further back and slightly up, we have a human sitting on an invisible chair, facing away from said cows; even further, two indistinct shapes.

The cherry on the cake is the soldier in the uppermost part of the photo, who seems to be walking through air, both on account of his position mid-air, and the fact that his parachute is off camera.

Again, we don’t know if the soldiers of the 2nd did this on purpose (paratroopers are known to make a spectacle of their jumps from time to time), but what resulted is definitely worthy of an entry in our Photo of the Day coverage.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various C-17 Globemasters.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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