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Getting the Green Light?Again

Jeffery Robinette’s racing car gives a nod to his Airborne service

Published in 2022 Virginia Super Lawyers magazine

As the jump doors opened on the C130 Hercules aircraft, it felt like a hurricane was coming through. It was 1985 and Jeffery Robinette had just finished officer candidate school in Fort Benning, Georgia, then signed up for Army Airborne.

“When the door light turned from red to green, it was a bit late to have second thoughts,” recalls Robinette, a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney at Robinette Legal Group in Morgantown, West Virginia. “You were going out that door whether you wanted to or not.”

Fortunately, his parachute opened, but he was tangled. “Having only a few moments before I would be crashing on my head, I frantically twisted myself out of the knot,” he says. Just in time, he flipped right-side-up, but landed hard. “Before my courage flagged, I thought I had better quickly finish the other four jumps,” he says. 

Robinette earned his Airborne wings that day, and would go on to join the elite 82nd Airborne Division and become a Jumpmaster. 

Three decades into the practice of law, Robinette says, “I got the itch to do something exciting again.” He chose something closer to the ground—auto racing. After learning how to track a race car on a road circuit, he attended the Skip Barber Racing School in Atlanta and received a full competition racing license. “I located a fine racing team and garage that built out my Mustang GT into a full racing car,” he says. “Being so appreciative for what the 82nd Airborne meant to me, I wanted to commemorate the 82nd Airborne as part of my car livery.”

The car and trailer, emblazoned with “82,” attract a lot of attention at the racetracks, with veterans flocking to see them. “In the end, I got more than I bargained for when I signed up for paratrooper school,” Robinette muses. “I got a lifetime of new faces and friends that share a common experience. Now, instead of looking for the green light to exit the aircraft, I look for the green light to get on the throttle.”

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