Tandem Team is Golden at Fort Knox

Mitch Barnhart

Mitch Barnhart of the University of Kentucky jumps with SSG Joe Jones

The Golden Knights Tandem Team packed up shop once again, and for the week, is calling Fort Knox, Ky home. The Tandem Team arrived on Monday to set up operations on the main parade field.  Three full days of Tandems were planned for the event.  Mother Nature had plans of her own.  Tuesday was to be the first day of jumping but came and went with out a single lift flown.  Winds gusting to 40, tornado warnings, and rain that seemed to fall sideways kept everyone inside.  The Tandem Team didn’t disappoint the jumpers who came from all over the midwest.  SSG Jared Zell gave a parachute demonstration, and SSG Joe Abeln showed the class how we capture all of the amazing photos and videos.

Allyson Rogers

A very excited Allyson Rogers just after exiting with SFC Elliott

The rest of the team came in and answered every question the jumpers could think of.  Whats it like to jump out of an air plane? What does it take to become a Golden Knight?  Who do you compete against?  Every question was answered accept for one.  When is the weather going to get better?  The answer to that question would have to wait for Wednesday.

Allyson Rogers

Allyson Rogers, a sports writer at Ft Knox and SFC Mike Elliott

Wednesday morning brought in spectacular blue skies and warm temperatures.  Just as the sun started to shine on the horizon the Tandem Team took to the skies courtesy of Team SIX.  The winds however were very present and let us know they were still around.  With a 67 knot head wind on jump run, the first Tandem Pair exited the aircraft 1 1/2 miles away from the drop zone.  The exit point also had us jumping very close to the Fort Knox Bullion depository.  Extra care was given to make sure we wouldn’t land near the depository and have an unplanned tour of the facility.

Rodney Hughes and SFC Kurt Isenbarger deploy the parachute.

Team Six and Tandem Team worked together like a well oiled machine.  16 Tandems were conducted before turbulent and gusty  ground winds were too high for us to safely jump. Among the jumpers were 3rd Recruiting Brigade recruiters, a marketing director for the Minnesota Vikings, the Athletic director for the University of Kentucky and a High School Principal from Cleveland who had the Golden Knights jumping into his school earlier this year. A great experience was had by all.  Over the first two days the Tandem Team showed all of the jumpers a close up look into the life of a soldier and into the Golden Knights.   One more day of Tandems tomorrow and a jump into a local High School on Friday night will wrap up the Golden Knights visit to Fort Knox, KY.

Casey Wright, Principal at Nordonia Hills HS in Cleveland, exits the Twin Otter with SSG Jones

Casey Wrightasey Wright, Principal at Nordonia Hills HS in Cleveland, exits the Twin Otter with SSG Jones

John Petty

John Petty comes in for a smooth landing with SFC Elliott

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