GKs Escape from the NC Heat


Carol Cain, a local news anchor, puts her knees in the breeze over Selfridge AFB outside Detroit, MI.

The Golden Knights Tandem Team had a refreshing break from the North Carolina heat last week when they traveled to Detroit, Michigan. Selfridge Air Force Base hosted the three-day tandem camp, during which the Team completed more than 25 tandem skydives. The passengers were local university athletic coaches and administrators, as well as local law enforcement members and news personalities.

The local Army Recruiting Battalion Commander and Sergeant Major were there to interact with the university administrators, establishing dialogues with the schools. These important relationships help with the Army’s recruiting efforts by bringing positive experiences to those who can influence the Army’s target audience: young adults who could be potential Soldiers.

The camp began on a great note with breezy, 75 degree weather on the first day. All six passengers completed their tandem skydives with clear blue skies and the aquamarine waters of Lake St. Claire as a backdrop. The second day dawned grim with drizzle and low clouds. The first jump, affectionately called the “wind dummy” jump (in which the Team members jump solo to test the spot, winds, and landing conditions) resulted in only three of the test jumpers being able to exit due to clouds. With weather coming in and no end in sight, the plane landed and the passengers graciously agreed to come back on day three to complete their jump.

The weather delay on day two resulted in a long, satisfying day for day three. The Team worked tirelessly to complete twenty-two tandems the last day, including a freefall videographer for each jump, and SGT Tim O’Neal, the Team’s editor, compiling and editing each jumper’s video for them to take home shortly after their jump was complete.

Ron English, Head Coach for University of Michigan, jumps with SSG Aaron Figel of Tandem Team with Lake St. Claire in the background.

At the conclusion of the last day, recruiting battalion Commander LTC Julia Sweeny-Dent spoke briefly to the school administrators, encouraging them to convey their positive experiences to the students and to maintain the lines of communication that had been established between the recruiters and the school system.

The Team returned to a heat wave in NC, stepping off the plane at Pope Army Air Field to 98 degrees and a wall of humidity, but glad to be home nonetheless and looking forward to their next trip to California in July. Blue Skies!!

SGT Dennis Flickinger, the area's Recruiter of the Year, smiles for the camera on exit.

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