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Jumping into Football Games at Belle Vernon High School and the University of Pennsylvania

IMG_8way9335webGold Team spent the weekend in the great state of Pennsylvania where they were able to perform for Bell Vernon High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The team worked with local recruiters, as well as the schools academic professionals, to carry out two great shows. Before the game began on Friday, a few members of the Gold Demonstration Team linked up with the recruiters at Bell Vernon to give the High School students a little taste of what it is like to be in the Army. The team spent a few hours answering questions about Army life and what it takes to serve this great Country.

On Friday evening, the team departed for the airfield in preparation for the jump into the High School. Bell Vernon brought the Golden Knights in to start off their football game for the evening. The team performed a mass and followed up the show by tandem jumping Mrs. Shara Zupanc, one of the teachers at the school, with Tandem instructor SFC Joe Jones. The students loved the show.

Saturday proved just as eventful, as the weather brought in low clouds and rain. The team had the privilege of jumping into Indiana University of Pennsylvania to start off their football game. Due to the low clouds, the team performed a stack-out maneuver. This is when all the members of the team jump from alternating doors with a 3-5 second pause between jumpers, until the whole team exits the plane. The black and gold canopies stood out very bright against the dark rain clouds. The show turned out perfect despite the weather. Upon landing, the jumpers met up with the local recruiters and packed their parachutes.

This weekend was spent with some of Pennsylvania’s greatest students and athletes. We wish both teams the best of luck in this football season!! Until next time, blue skies!

Labor Day at Cleveland National Air Show

_MG_4279The Black Demonstration team spent Labor Day weekend performing over a

reported 300,000 spectators during the Cleveland National Air Show. We were

not graced with favorable weather conditions throughout the weekend, but the

team stayed composed and flexible with any last minute changes made in order

to safely exit our C31 and put on a great performance!

We were scheduled to perform six shows throughout the weekend to include

three mass formation performances in addition to three full shows. One of

our full show performances was cancelled due to the winds being out of our

safety limits. However, our highly skilled pilots Mr. Al Aber and CW4 Josh

Howe landed our C31 in front of show center as the rest of the team stepped

off the plane wearing our maroon berets in preparation for a team lineup.

Our narrator SSG David Echeverry informed the crowd that we were not able to

safely perform our show that afternoon, but he was still honored to have the

opportunity to introduce his teammates that would have been performing their

assigned maneuvers.

We wrapped up the weekend having performed three mass shows and two low

shows. Along with our performances last weekend our tandem team teammates

SSG Rich Sloan and SSG Jon Lopez performed three tandem jumps to Q104 radio

personality Carley McChord, Dawn Kendrick from Channel 19 Cleveland, and Mr.

Raymond Brown President of the Cleveland National Air Show.

Black Team is preparing for their show into the Georgia Southern University

Football game this weekend.

Blue Skies!  SSG Shelby Bixler

Cleveland National Air Show 2014

Cleveland National Air Show 2014

SGT Travis Downing exiting C-31

SGT Travis Downing exiting C-31

SSG Shelby Bixler mentoring  little ladies to join the Army

SSG Shelby Bixler mentoring little ladies to join the Army

Black Team Line Up

Black Team Line Up

Thunder Over Santa Maria

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Last weekend our team traveled to the west coast and arrived in Santa Maria, CA for the 26th Annual Thunder Over the Valley Air Show. The Santa Maria community spent the past nine years requesting the presence of the US Army Golden Knights for their air show lineup.

We performed four shows above the Santa Maria Public Airport including two full shows, one mass formation and a stack out (low show performance) due to low visibility. The air show sponsors as well as the local community welcomed us by hosting three socials throughout the weekend located at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight. We all had the opportunity to meet with the air show sponsors, other air show performers, and local community officials to include Mayor Alice Patino.

The community of Santa Maria is very supportive of our Military as we were presented with the Patriot Freedom Key, which we will proudly hang in our team room. We had the honor of meeting a very special guest during our last social, a 92-year-old Santa Maria woman, Lieutenant Marian Marrinan USAAF (United States Army Airforce), who proudly represented our Nation during World War II as a nurse and spoke of her experiences during the first week of Normandy. 1LT Marrinan had an opportunity to meet the team during the social and then proudly stood close to show center during the teams last performance for the weekend, which included a baton pass, diamond track, and mass formation.

We were then individually introduced by our narrator SPC Luke Olk in front of approximately eight thousand spectators who were anxiously waiting for us to make our way to the Army Strong stage for a meet and greet.

The signature of our performances will continue to be the ability we have to interact with the American Public, they assist us with repacking our parachutes, sharing our Army stories, and signing autographs.

This was our last show with the highly motivated Army Strong stage crew (staffed by the Army Marketing and Research Group) and we hope we have the opportunity to reach out to the American public with them during future air shows and demonstrations. The Army Strong stage has become a hit with their music selection, high energy, and local recruiters assisting in connecting today’s Army with the American public. These lasting impressions may one day inspire a young man or woman to become the next US Army Golden Knight! Black team will be performing in Cleveland, Ohio this Labor Day weekend.

Blue Skies!   SDG Bixler, Photos by Jerry Morrison


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