Former Golden Knights Ashes Spread over Raeford Drop Zone


Two former members of the Golden Knights ashes were spread over Raeford Drop Zone. Norris Hargett who was one of the original pilots assigned to the USAPT with the Golden Knights Aviation Section. Hargett served three tours on the team, and his exemplary flying skills helped the Team to win more than 50 titles. One of the most dedicated alumni members, Ronnie J. Smith former Black Team Demonstrator, spent over six years with the team and continued to do school presentations and demonstrations representing the team until the very end.

Black Team and Alumni together Both men wished to have a final flight with the current U S Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights and have their ashes spread at a place they spent many days doing what they loved best.Practicing door exit outside of plane

On Saturday September 18, 2010 members of the Black Demonstration Team led by SFC Will Fleming and two members of the Alumni fulfilled both of their wishes. Joyce, RJ’s wife and sister both came up from Florida and NJ’s Son, numerous family members, friends and approximately seventy-five Golden Knight Alumni team members attended the joyful memorial.

Olden Knight still looks great to me!

RJ's wife Joyce and Skippy

Family,friends and alumni attending memorial service

1st Sergeant Bryan Schnell greeted all of the family and guest and the Chaplin prayed for the blessings of their lives with us prior to the jumps and thanked them all for coming. Skippy Cassell, Spider Wrenn and several others spoke of fond memories and experiences with both team mates.

Ashes of Norris Hargett,Son and Black Demonstration Team

Prior to the Black Teams Departure on the aircraft, family members held the ashes of their loved ones close for one last time and took photographs with the demonstrators performing the ceremonial service.

Ronnie Smith "RJ" ashes jumped by Black Team

RJ was jumped first and the sun glistened as the team made a magnificent bomburst formation as videographers Sean Capogreco and SSG Rachel Medley circled around the professional maneuver capturing the reverent event. Amidst the beautiful blue sky filled with huge puffy clouds you could see a huge backlit shadow of a bird hovering as the ashes were released. I told Joyce,” Look Joyce theres RJ Flying high above the clouds!” and we momentarily hugged tightly.

Starburst shines through 2 stack formation

The team members all came in for a soft stand up landing, then they all packed their chutes and waited for manifest to give them a call so they could honor Norris with the memorable jump he had chosen. They all gathered around and conducted a dirt dive, climbed aboard the plane and flew NJ to an all familiar 13,000 ft to release Norris’s ashes to their final resting place. A bright red smoke trailed the jumpers as they fell through the brilliant blue sky while releasing their alumni team mate’s ashes to the heavens which he loved so much.

Team members seperate after bomburst

SFC Will Fleming said, “We our honored to have the opportunity to be here to jump our team mates and make their dreams come true.”

Knights for life

2 stack

  • Fred Patterson

    OMG,
    If you had even spoken a single word to these men, seeing this would bring tears to your eyes!
    “We know how to be brothers in the best of times, and we know how to be brothers in sad times also”

    Sorry but just lost for words here,
    RIP in peace my friend,
    Fred

  • Lisa Hargett-Young

    Id like to thank the entire team who showed up to send my father into a place which he dearly loved…….the air and flying. The plane that was brought for his service following an issue with the first plane, Im not sure if anyone noticed but it had my fathers initials on it NJ….how bittersweet was that? Id also like to thank the members who took time from their own personal lives to fly up from all over to do this for my father. He loved the ARMY and held the Golden Knights close to his heart……..and was so proud to be one of the founding members……..God Bless you all and thank you all for serving our country !!

  • Karen Ocenas

    What a wonderful tribute.

  • Maria Allsopp (White)

    As long as there are eagles there will be men like you RJ. You and NJ will always soar like eagles. Namaste.

  • Donald Hargette

    I would like to thank 1st Sgt. Schnell, Skippy, team members and any others for planning and executing such a fitting tribute to my brother, Norris. I know that he loved flying with the Golden Knights, and I know what you mean when you say “We Take Care of Our Own”. You are the greatest!

  • Gene Koehler

    A tear of Respect and Honor filled my eyes for my fellow Team mates past, present, and departed.

  • Karen Hampton

    I did not know this was happening, because I would definitely had been there to wish a heavenly farewell to RJ. Go with the clouds, my friend, and soar once again.

    Blue Skies,
    Karen

  • Michael Hofbauer

    My condolences to the family and the team. What a great tribute.

    Blue Skies.

  • Dr. Lou Hackett

    To the family, I would not have missed this for nothing. I truly had a lot of respect for RJ. He taught me alot. I told him at the reunion just how much I thought of him. He smiled and told me how much that meant to him.

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