Week Four continued to challenge us in every way possible. More tasks to complete and higher standards to deal with. It seems just as we get used to the heat that is poured on, the Cadre find a new way to turn it up. In particular was learning how to deal with a crowd of spectators that are demanding autographs, photos and answers to their various questions. Mr. Thacker of Raeford Parachute Center and several Golden Knight Alumni visited us this week and observed training. They interacted with us in a simulated spectator environment giving us the chance to learn how to deal with the many situations that arise during a demonstration. This gave us a chance to make mistakes and have them corrected without actually doing so in a true spectator environment. The lessons learned on “Raeford Day” will forever be invaluable.
We continued Diamond Formation training and Diamond Tracks. We also began learning how to perform an end of show line up and a photo line up. All of this extra training culminated in a parachute demonstration to open the Parachutist Over Phorty Society’s (POPS) competition at Raeford Parachute Center. A Columbus Day weekend opener that none of us are soon to forget. If performing in front of a hundred or so spectators and landing in an open field makes our hearts race this much, then how will we ever be able to pound a dead center landing in a tight target area in front of tens of thousands? We don’t have the answer for that, but we also can’t wait for that experience to come. This demonstration gave us a glimpse of what may be if we are still here at the end…and it felt awesome ! We were rewarded by our Cadre with a lot of praise and a Saturday off. Finally we are truly seeing the fruits of our labors !
This week was demanding. We were worn out, bruised and battered. But the Demonstration at the end was worth the price we paid in sweat. There is no doubt now in any of our minds that everything we learn here has purpose and direction. SSG Dunning is fond of reminding us that “everything” the Cadre does has a reason. We truly see that for what it is now, and we look forward to more reasoning in the upcoming fifth week. One more week closer to earning our jackets ! Week five? No Sweat !