Black Team and Boy Scouts Take Over Galena, IL

SSG Howie Sanborn (top) and SPC Matthew Navarro fly a two-stack over Galena, IL, the hometown of US President Ulysses S. Grant (photo by SGT Rachel Medley)

Black Team made two jumps in Galena, IL for the 57th Annual Boy Scout Pilgrimage on Saturday despite breezy conditions and overcast skies. The jumps, which were made into the football field of Galena High School, were the pinnacle of two years of planning and fundraisers by the town of Galena and the Boy Scouts of America. The city planned and coordinated for the Team to jump into the 2010 pilgrimage, only to be thwarted by drizzle and thick clouds at 600 feet…not even enough altitude to get the plane off the ground.

This year though, mother nature smiled on the Boy Scouts and made a liar out of the weatherman; the forecasted thunderstorms and rain never came. The Boy Scouts are always an enthusiastic, if not ragtag bunch, and seeing the parachutes, smoke, and canopy formations drove the young crowd wild! The Scoutmasters had their hands full corralling the troops as they clamored around the jumpers for autographs and stickers.

One of the Boy Scout Troops that watched the jump stuck around and patietly waited for a photo op. It's not easy to get that many Scouts to stand in one place and do the same thing all at the same time! (photo by SGT Rachel Medley)

Although jumping in front of crowds of 100,000 screaming fans is thrilling, there is a unique satisfaction in jumping into a hometown football field in the midwest, where all activity comes to a screeching halt the entire town’s population stop whatever they are doing for 20 minutes and watch their Army’s Parachute Team floating out of the sky. Then after the jump when you are walking down the street to the cafes and shops, every person in the town knows who you are and shakes your hand, and thanks you for your service, and you know that they mean it. That’s what America is all about, and the Team was honored to be a part of it for the weekend.

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