Seventeen-year-old Nanaimo high school student Bryson Beute experienced a rollercoaster of emotions before parachuting of a CC-130J Hercules aircraft for the final time - anxious, joyous and a bit sad.
But when he made it to the ground, calling out to his fellow cadets, he realized what he had accomplished and felt pure exhilaration.
Beute was one of 50 Canadian cadets invited to attend the Canadian Forces basic parachutist course in Trenton, Ont., and the only one from Nanaimo.
The five-week course ended Sunday.
Beute, who plans on finishing his last year of high school before joining the army, overcame strict and "really intense" training to become a certified Canadian Forces Jumper.
He came home with a service number, service tags and a set of basic jump wings.
"I really wanted to take away something that was a once in a lifetime type thing. When you're 17 you never get the opportunity to get this type of stuff," he said, adding the course wasn't what he expected.
"I thought, wouldn't it be impressive if I can push out a few hundred push ups? But really, they didn't care about that. What they wanted to see was if you can work together as a team and function and have a solid mind."
Beute, a former football player, said he was treated as a "real" soldier during the five-week course, and the boot camp atmosphere taught him to be a perfectionist both in and outside training - learning what his superiors dubbed "warrior ethics." "I think it's given me advantages," he said. "It made me more vigilant to little details. It's made me able to react quicker to stuff."
Now Beute, hooked on the thrill of parachuting, just wants to keep jumping.
"When I joined Cadets in Sept. 2009 I joined because I wanted to do adventure stuff," he said. "(Now) I'm comfortable with jumps and just want to do more."
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