A retired U.S. Army colonel stationed at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill once told me the origin story. One night, Apache leader Geronimo escaped and soldiers pursued him. He ran up Medicine Bluff to a spot 90 feet above Cache Creek, cried out, “I am Geronimo!” and leaped off the bluff. By some miracle, he emerged unscathed.
Early-day paratroopers, who had heard of the legend, believed that since shouting “Geronimo” worked for the Apache, the good fortune would occur when they jumped.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org