The Golden Knights Tandem Team is off to an amazing start in 2011. The Team left North Carolina on Tuesday, heading to San Antonio, TX, for the US Army All American Bowl. The All American Bowl is a High School All Star football game showcasing the top student athletes in the country. Many of whom will be the next big names in College football.
Wednesday was the first day for the Golden Knights to showcase their own talent. The Team set up operations at Stinson Airfield just outside of down town San Antonio. Wednesday morning started out with dense fog, reminding the Team of the cold and gloomy weather during the event last year. The Tandem jumpers arrived early and were eager to jump. SSG Joe Jones taught the group how to properly jump from a “perfectly good airplane.” Just as the classroom portion of the day was ending the fog was rolling out and sunshine was rolling in. The Tandem Instructors helped everyone gear up in Black and Gold jump suits, and get ready for a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The first three Tandem Jumpers boarded the Twin Otter with their Tandem Instructors, who also happen to be their new best friends, and were on their way to 13,500 ft above Texas. It wasn’t a long flight and before they could even think about what was going to happen, they were standing in the open door of the aircraft looking at the world below. “Ready, Set, GO!” A second later they were speeding towards the ground below at 120 MPH.
The jumpers on Wednesday came from all around the country. Armando Promo, a civic leader in Miami, Fl made his first Tandem jump. Gustavas McCoy came from Jackson, MS. Gustavas is the CEO of the Metro Youth Initiative, a true role model for young children in the state of Mississippi. I J Rosenberg from Atlanta, GA, is president of SCORE Atlanta. A sports marketing company helping High School athletes. All of the jumpers who spent the day with the Golden Knights were honored for their commitment to their community, and work with the US Army.
The Tandem Team was honored to welcome Medal of Honor recipient SSG Salvatore Giunta to the US Army All American Bowl. What better way to welcome a hero than take him 2 ½ miles above San Antonio and show him how to jump out of an air plane. SSG Giunta also brought his wife Jennifer along for the jump. SSG Giunta is assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in Vicenza, Italy, so he knows what it’s like to jump out of an airplane. He wanted to go a little higher than the 800 foot altitude of the Airborne jumps he was accustomed too. In no time at all the Twin Otter was on its eighth flight over Stinson Airfield. SSG Giunta, attached to SSG Jones, was ready to go. The jump was perfect. SGM Young and LTC Martin flew along side. Upon landing SSG Giunta found out that not only did he jump once with the Golden Knights he could go right back up and try it again. “SSG Salvatore Giunta the Golden Knights Proudly Salute You”.
A great start to the 2011 US Army All American bowl. The Team made new friends and everyone left with an unforgettable Army Strong experience. The Team will be jumping Thursday and Friday and attending the All American Bowl football game on Saturday. Then we pack up and head to Homestead, Fl for two months of winter training.