Strength Starts Here!

An early morning tandem flies by the setting moon. ( photo by SSG Abeln)The Fort Knox Tandem Camp wrapped up Friday not with Tandems but a Demo into Hardin Central High School.  The jump ended a very successful week at Fort Knox.  In all, the Tandem Team managed to conduct 30 Tandems despite windy and cold wether.


Thursday was another day sponsored by the 3rd Recruiting Brigade.  Diane Pagel, a counselor from St. Mary’s High School in Wisconsin, spent the day learning about the many different jobs the Army has to offer.  The Tandem Team took her 2 1/2 miles over the Gold Bullion Depository and let her experience one job that offers a great view. Her Army Strong day will surely be told to many students at St. Mary’s. Unfortunately the high winds from Tuesday and Wednesday were still around. After 7 tandem jumps were completed, SFC Mike Elliott made the safety decision that the winds were too gusty to safely land a tandem parachute.  For the remaining 7 jumpers they would have to wait one more day to jump with the Golden Knights.

Friday the winds had diminished and the weather was phenomenal.  The Tandem Team hosted CSM John Troxell.  CSM Troxell is the Accessions Command and Human Resource Center of Excellence Command Sergeant Major at Fort Knox. CSM Troxell put his trust and confidence in SFC Elliott to take  him on his first Tandem Jump.  He is a veteran of many static line jumps but had not had the chance to free fall at 120 mph.  The jump went so well that when a slot opened up on the last lift of the day CSM Troxell took to the skies once more this time with SSG Joe Abeln. Everyone on on the ground below could here the Command Sergeant Major while descending under the black and gold parachute.  He proclaimed,  “Strength Starts Here”!

Friday night after the tandems were complete the Tandem Team had one last mission for the Fort Knox area.  A local High School football game was being held between John Hardin High School and Central Hardin High School two of Kentucky’s best High School football programs, and rivals.  The jump went off just after sunset on a cold October night.  SFC Elliott trailed pyrotechnics out of the Twin Otter door as Team Six flew over the football field.  The packed stands welcomed Tandem Team with loud screams and cheers as each jump landed on the 50 yard line sporting the schools football jersey’s.  A great jump finished out the week at Fort Knox.

The Tandem Team isn’t slowing down just yet.  Two members of the Tandem team are currently in Fort Worth, TX where the are jumping Ross Perot Jr.  They will move on to Lackland Air Force Base later this week bringing the Tandem Team to the San Antonio area.  Also Two other members of the team are heading to sunny FL for tandems at the Homestead Air show next weekend.

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