Opening the Show at Rockford, Illinois

A signature act of the Golden Knights’ demonstrations, is the opportunity to regularly open the Air Show by flying in the American Flag to our National Anthem. On Saturday, at the Rockford Airfest, Illinois, SFC Brian Sealing had the opportunity to do just that.

Leaving the aircraft at 12,500 feet, SFC Sealing seems to have a long, relaxing free fall, before opening his parachute about a full minute later. Although this is not far from the truth, he is holding a multitude of responsibilities during his portion of the performance.

For the show opening, the jumper carrying the American flag is also our show’s narrator and our wind test jumper. From the instant Sealing exits the aircraft, he immediately begins to watch the ground for certain cues. He must determine where he exited, which direction and how fast he is drifting across the ground with the upper level winds, whether his spot was appropriate, how the Team should adjust their spot, what the lower level winds were like while he was under his canopy, and also, at what altitude to cue the ground safety officer to start the National Anthem.

After deploying the American Flag, Sealing also starts a stop watch on his wrist and is responsible to control his descent at a rate where he lands on the 10 x 10 foot target on the last note of the Anthem. If that weren’t strenuous enough, there is still much more. After landing, he must take a quick breath, and before removing his equipment, he must make a radio call to the aircraft to relay all this information, “Spot was good, drift off the nose, left to right, smooth under canopy.”

After our narrator lands and provides the “Spot report,” he then has the privilege of speaking directly to the American Public as our show’s narrator. He must shake off any adrenaline that was built up during the jump, and then speak clearly and enthusiastically through the microphone.

SFC Brian Sealing was Saturday’s Narrator. However, each and every demonstrator on the Golden Knights learns how to do this task. Following the jump, they must each roll directly into their 20+ page narration, which has been completely memorized verbatim. They have the ability to turn any performance into an awe-inspiring event, or just another way of passing the time, depending on their ability to control the crowd’s attention and enthusiasm.

Following Sealing’s performance, Black Team performed their signature Mass formation with a show line spread, where they safely landed across the entire show line.

Greeting the Team, was Air Force’s General Raymond E. Johns Jr., Commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, IL. Following the performance, CW5 Jeff Sopp, one of the Golden Knight’s distinguished pilots and holding the Army’s highest warrant officer rank, was privileged to swear in the delayed entry program candidates (DEP’s). The swearing-in is a very important point in the career of any Soldier! It is the beginning of their oath to serve this great Country. The Golden Knights, as well as the rest of the American Public, are proud to accept these men and women into our U.S. Army. Thank you, to these brave new Soldiers, joining us.

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