Staff Profile: Alexandra Ostebo
Meet Wonderful Machine marketing specialist Alexandra Ostebo! She's lived everywhere across the country from Alaska to Washington, DC and has now landed in Philadelphia for the last year. However, Philly isn’t the only place Ally’s recently touched down. This past month, she said goodbye to her friends, family and the team at Wonderful Machine to take on one of the greatest challenges of her life … and she passed with flying colors.
Ally is a first lieutenant in the Army Reserve and works for the 55th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Belvoir: a logistical unit that coordinates the delivery of fuel, water, food and other supplies to infantry units on the front lines. Her dad, a helicopter pilot and two-star Admiral in the US Coast Guard, motivated her to join the Reserves.
“My dad wanted me to be independent and pay for my own school. He didn’t want me to graduate with all of this debt. Joining the military was the best way to do that and it really makes you feel a part of something bigger.”
Ally wearing her parachute after her first jump (left) and Ally's helmet with the red practice jump towers in the background.
Since graduating from Dickinson College, Ally travels to Northern Virginia one weekend each month to drill with her unit. She also spends several weeks every year attending various types of rigorous training. In May, however, she faced her biggest challenge yet: Airborne School. Airborne School trains the Army's finest soldiers to jump out of a C-130 or C-17 aircraft at 1,500 feet. Ally admitted it was one of the more intense schooling experiences she's ever had. She was also the smallest member in her class of nearly 500 soldiers--so she would be the first person to make the jump since she would take the longest to fall.
“I think that was the scariest part- staring out of the open door and seeing the ground move beneath the plane at 1,500 feet, just waiting for the signal to jump. The jumpmasters were a bit concerned with how small I was. I wouldn’t call myself a daredevil by any means but I told them there was no way I wasn't jumping out of that plane…”
When she finally took the plunge, she says it was the most exhilarating experience of her life.
“When you first jump you get knocked around but then you're suddenly floating and I remember looking up at my parachute-- you count to six and check your parachute to make sure there are no rips and that it’s opening properly. That was honestly the best part: counting those six seconds and looking up for the first time. The parachute just blossoms open, it's the most peaceful type of movement I’ve ever seen.”
The United States Airborne School sign in Fort Benning, GA during Ally's graduation.
When she landed on the drop zone, she lugged her equipment (that was equivalent to her body weight) for a mile to get back to the rally point.
Ally's first jump- she's the first one out of the plane.
“I was really happy when I hit the ground, I kept thinking “that was so awesome!" and couldn't wait to go again. My dad was waiting for me at the rally point too so I was excited to see him.”
Over the course of the three-week training program, Ally jumped out of an airplane five times to earn her wings. While Airborne school was unlike anything she had ever experienced, the discipline and perseverance she learned there will make her even stronger in the civilian world.
Ally at graduation! You can see her new wings above her US Army patch.
"Jumping out of an airplane will definitely come in handy at Wonderful Machine. Honestly, marketing can get pretty crazy and who knows when you'll need to land a parachute on the drop zone.”
Stay tuned each month to learn more about the team and their lives outside of Wonderful Machine!