The Gold Demonstration Team had the amazing opportunity to participate in the New York Yankees Military Appreciation Day. The Yankees paid tribute to the Special Operation Warrior Foundation and United States Armed Forces. During the ceremony, four fallen Soldiers were honored and their children were brought onto the field and presented with scholarship checks for the Special Operation Warrior Foundation.
One of the four fallen Soldiers honored was a former Golden Knight, Gold Team member SFC Pedro Munoz, who was the first U.S. combat death in Afghanistan January 1, 2005. Munoz daughter, Dalia along with the other three Soldiers children were introduced to the individual team members by SFC Dustin Peregrin, Gold Team leader. Dalia was presented a baton by SSG David Echevery and SFC Tom Melton, SSG Mike Koch and SSG Brian Karst presented batons to the family members that had been actually flown in freefall to the stadium by the Soldiers for the presentation.
Starting the game off, Gold Team’s SFC Adrian Hill jumped in an enormous POW flag and narrated the rest of his team as they jumped from 4,500 feet. SSG Brandan Parra flew in the game ball for the ceremonial first pitch, thrown by retired Air Force Colonel John Carney and also flew in the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) flag. The team jumped several more flags to include the New York State flag,Puerto Rico flag, in honor of SFC Munoz, and SSG Sherri Gallagher jumped in a Derek Jeter #2 Yankees flag. The Jeter flag was flown in honor of his up and coming retirement, as this is his final season with the New York Yankees after 20 years, 14 All-Star appearances and 5 World Championships.
Once all the jumpers were safely on the ground, the National Anthem was played. Country music singer and U.S. Army Ranger, Keni Thomas sang the Anthem. Keni Thomas served as a member of Task Force Ranger as a part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and also served in the Battle of Mogadishu. The New York Yankees were brought good luck by the Knights’ and now have their first all-time regular season series sweep of Cincinnati. They were victorious playing their final game of a three-game series vs. Cincinnati in the Yankees final Interleague games of the season.
The Golden Knights were honored to participate in Military Appreciation Day, as we recognize the sacrifice made by those before us. To those that have served, are currently serving, and to the families of these brave men and women, we proudly salute you.
SSG Gallagher, Photos by SSG Reese Pendelton and Donna Dixon