Stars, Stripes, and Sun

Well, a little sun that is. Over the weekend Black Demonstration Team arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and as is typical in southern Florida this time of year, a mix of sun, clouds, wind, and rain arrived as well. Friday evenings jump into Huizenga Park proved as difficult an operation as Black Team has conducted all year, with winds nearing the upper limits of the team’s capabilities. But with Team 6 Aviators at the controls of the C-31 Friendship Aircraft, high anticipation from the jumpers of a combined Black and Gold Team, and a brief lull in the winds, the crowd welcomed the Golden Knights first jumper into the landing area with cheers and applause. It just so happened that jumper was SGT David Echeverry, who is actually from Ft Lauderdale. “It is a privilege to have my family and friends here for this jump. What an honor to be able to represent The United States Army in the city where I grew up”, said SGT Echeverry.

Saturday’s night jump proved to be just as difficult. As the clouds rolled in with the dark of night, Black Team exited the aircraft from just above 7 thousand feet with night pyrotechnics ignited. Gusting winds challenged 8 jumpers to rely on all their skill to land each black and gold canopy on a small stretch of beach barely 100” by 100” wide. With all the precision you’ve come to expect from the Golden Knights, each jumper landed right on target.

Following each jump over the weekend, the team was greeted by Ft Lauderdale’s Mayor Seiler. Following Friday’s jump, the Mayor presented the team with a “Key to the City”, inviting the Golden Knights back to Ft Lauderdale anytime. The team then presented the Mayor and the CEO of the Miami Dolphins, Mike Dee, with 2 footballs which were flown in by the jumpers. Owner Mike Dee then asked SFC Brian Sealing, in a surprise invitation, to “bring the team back down to jump into the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots game on December 2nd.” SFC Sealing gladly accepted the invitation by simply replying “Deal!”

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