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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”