Gov. Greg Abbott Soars to Sky-High Salute Alongside Centenarian Vet in Texas Tribute Jump

Gov. Greg Abbott Soars to Sky-High Salute Alongside Centenarian Vet in Texas Tribute JumpSource: Office of the Texas Governor
Ryan Anderson
Published on November 27, 2023

In an audacious plunge from the sky, Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined nonagenarian daredevil and WWII veteran Al Blaschke in a tandem skydive designed to pay tribute to U.S. military veterans. On a bright Texan day, Abbott completed his inaugural skydive, and the centenarian Blaschke took the leap from a dizzying altitude of 8,500 feet, entrusting their fates to the embrace of the wind and parachutes.

The heart-stopping event, laced with a potent mix of adrenaline and patriotism, saw the pair climb aboard an aircraft, a de Havilland DHC-6-200 Twin Otter, and make the jump at Skydive Spaceland San Marcos. The high-flying spectacle was not just for the kicks; it was a moving nod to the unwavering valor of soldiers who once stormed beaches, took to the skies, and trudged through battlefields for freedom's sake. "Texans and Americans owe so much to the brave men and women who serve our nations and protect the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day," Abbott proclaimed in a statement following the jump.

Bearing witness to this spectacle were Texas National Guard soldiers, local veteran advocate and Georgetown community leader Betty Schleder, and the professional team from Skydive Spaceland. Blaschke, whose life after serving as a WWII aircraft engineer includes shattering world records, first turned heads with his skydiving antics on his 100th birthday back in 2017—a gesture that would only mark the beginning of his high-altitude adventures. Today's feat wasn't just about another tick on his bucket list but edging his name deeper into the annals of the Guinness Book of World Records, according to a press release from the Governor's office.

Meanwhile, the indomitable Ms. Schleder, undoubtedly liked by the community and clearly seen leaping alongside the likes of Abbott and Blaschke, boasts an enviable resume: small business owner, former standout on the hit shows "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race," and now, presumably, veteran skydiver. Beyond their fleeting flight, both Abbott and Blaschke serve as emblems—not only of a nation's gratitude to those who wore its uniform but also of a spirit that defies the gravity of age and the typical bounds of the sky.