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The 56th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show Swooped by Golden Knights

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North Lake Shore Drive was literally overshadowed as the U.S. Army Parachute Team’s, Golden Knights’ Black and Gold Parachutes, multiple military and vintage planes roared and zipped through the blue skies this past weekend for the 56th annual Chicago Air and Water Show.Over a million spectators hustled along the crowded shores to the lakefront from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street. The “Boat House” on North Avenue Beach served as the show’s center each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Gold Demonstration Team led by SFC Dustin Peregrin gave a phenomenal performance for the crowd on Friday and Saturday, but poor weather postponed and eventually canceled the second day.

SPC Dan Osorio jumped in first and then narrated the show beginning with a first time ever joint formation with the Golden Knights, All Veteran Parachute Team and Navy Leap Frogs as they skillfully maneuvered a beautifully formed 3-stack formation.

Members of the AVPT flew in to the “Windy City” with five jumpers donning different parachutes, a variety of flags and ended with and enormous American flag.

Immediately following the AVPT demo, members of the Navy Leap Frog’s and the Golden Knights gracefully flew from far corners of the earth into a magnificent smoke circled mass formation circling high over the great City of Chicago.

The parachuting montage of demonstration scenes subsided with a grand finale with SFC Joe Jones, CSM Thomas Holland and videographer SFC Brian Sealing sweeping across the scenic lake shore with a tandem parachute jump.

Following the jump the team members were introduced to the crowd and did a statuesque team line up as Mr. Ken Breeden and CW4 Ed Schemper the team pilots, picturesquely did a fly-by in the teams exquisite C31 Friendship Fokker.

SFC Peregrin escorted and introduced “Make a Wish” recipient 6-year old Graham Hoekstra to the Team and SGT Blake Gaynor presented Graham with a baton that was passed in mid-air during their demonstration.

Due to inclement weather Sunday was delayed and eventually cancelled, but the Knights’ on the ground carried the show on. Sunday morning at Chicago’s Air and Water show, the Blackhawks’ own Professional Opera Singer, Jim Cornelison got iced by members of the Golden Knights Command, Air Force Heritage Flight pilots, All Veteran Parachute Team and Navy Leap Frogs.

Governor Pat Quinn also took the challenge and even Chicago’s very own Lourdes Duarte stepped up accepting the country’s latest viral craze, which supports a bigger cause; raising awareness and money to fight Lou Gerhig’s Disease, ALS. Those who refuse take the challenge are asked to donate money to help fight ALS.

SFC Derrick Coleman along with the Golden Knights’ Commander, LTC Matthew Weinrich and CSM TJ Holland presented the day’s baton to Chicago Public Schools student and JROTC Cadet, SGM Malik Baker.  Malik took a flight with legendary pilot, Sean D. Tucker on Thursday, August 14 as part of the Young Eagles aviation program and the 56th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show.

Chicagoans all over the beach said they were excited this year about the return of military headliners —the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team — after their absence last year because of sequestration due to federal budget cuts.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “The Chicago Air and Water Show is always a summertime favorite providing exciting family entertainment in the skies above Lake Michigan,” “For more than half a century, this event has grown into a spectacular display of aviation’s finest in a unique setting making it a wonderful destination for residents and visitors alike.”

 

 

Kerry Sanders, NBC Correspondent Tandem Parachute Jumps With Golden Knights

IMG5x7_6236 Miami-based correspondent Kerry Sanders with NBC put his life in the hands of Soldier SFC Noah Watts to conduct a tandem parachute jump this morning over the beautiful blue skies of Fort Bragg, NC.

Mr. Sanders and SFC Watts began their morning at about 6:30 a.m. with an interview on NBC Today Show on Green Ramp at Pope Army Airfield. Mr. Sanders said, “ I am honored and thrilled to be part of the Hiring Heroes Plan and to thank all of the Soldiers for service to their country and to be with this program to help with what you do in the civilian world.”

Sanders and entourage then fled to the Golden Knight hanger to ascend in the Twin Otter to climb to 13,000 feet for his grand leap. Prior to getting on the plane Kerry said, that he was sure someone was going to ask him why was he going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and all he could say was that he was an adrenaline junkie and he knew it was going to be absolutely amazing.

When at altitude SFC Jon Ewald one of his videographers asked him what he was thinking? Kerry said, ”It’s really a long way down there!!! But I have all the faith in All ya’ll, and the Soldiers I put my life in the hands of in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Videographer SSG Jonathan Lopez climbed out onto the side of the plane, SFC Watts and Kerry stepped to the edge of the door and were gone in split second.

SPC Daniel Osorio was the first jumper to hit the ground before a thousand cheering Soldiers. Meanwhile, SFC JD Berentis and SFC Tom Melton were flying bright red smoke alongside Mr. Sanders as they rapidly approached the earth. Followed by SFC Adrian Hill who proudly flew in a Army Star flag surrounded by the words Solders for Life.

Momentarily the gleaming face of Mr Sanders swiftly glided by the two huge Howitzers and XVIII ABN white and blue emblem and came to a soft standing halt.

Mr Sanders joined his crew and said,”Even though I did this before, seven years ago, it seemed brand new, and I don’t know maybe it was because of live cameras. The Golden Knights and Fort Bragg have made me feel so welcomed.”

XVlll Airborne Corps, LTC Gary Belcher and Fort Bragg have been working to host the Hiring Heroes Plan with Ms. Teresa Gerton (DAS for Veterans Employment and Training, Dept of Labor); Dr. Susan Kelly (Director, Transition to Veterans Program Office);BG David MacEwen (The Adjutant General of the Army); Ms. Rosye Cloud (Sr Adv, Veteran Employment, Veterans Benefit Admin; Mr. Eric Eversole (Executive Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Ross Cohen (Senior Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Kerry Sanders (NBC News and Today Show contributor) and numerous organizations to hold a successful Transition Summit.

A Few objectives of this event was to unify local, regional and national efforts to educate up to 1200 Soldiers and their Families, who will transition from the military in 3-18 months on the enormous number of resources available to them as they transition from military service, reintegrate into civilian life and to prepare them for transition into the civilian workforce; conduct a North Carolina focused hiring event for up to 150 Soldiers who are less than sixty days from separating from the Army.

Northeastern Canopy Pilot League Holds 3rd Meet at Skydive Cross Keys

SFC Jow Abeln Swoops his way to Victory

SFC Joe Abeln Swoops his way to Victory

SFC Joe Abeln and SFC Jared Zell of the US Army Golden Knights Canopy Piloting Team were in action Saturday at the third meet of the Northeastern Canopy Pilot Leage (NECPL). The competition took place at Skydive Cross Keys in Williamstown, NJ just east of Philadelphia. The drop zone had a busy line up hosting a Swoop Competition, a Sisters in Skydiving event, a Parachutists over Phorty (POPS) record attempt and over 100 Tandems scheduled. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies and light winds. The 16 Competitors were off to an early start with a 0700 competitor briefing. Once the loads were sorted the Canopy Pilots took to the sky.

The day started with the Speed event and SFC Abeln put down the fastest time of the day with 2.891 sec. Sven Jseppi of the Canadian National time was just behind him with a run of 2.901 seconds. SFC Abeln took 2nd in the Speed event while teammate SFC Zell took 5th. The competition switched to Distance. The thick air kept the distance runs shorter than expected. Again Abeln and Zell were looking at Jseppi just ahead of them. The Competition finished up with the Zone Accuracy event. Abeln was 27 points off the lead with two rounds to go. This challenging event tests the competitors overall ability to control speed and distance. SFC Abeln and SFC Zell both finished the meet with the best Zone Accuracy scores of the day both standing up in Zone 6.   Abeln finished 1st place in Zone Accuracy but was only able to make up 24 of the 27 points needed to take the lead and finished 2nd place overall while Zell finished in 5th place. There is one meet left of the NECPL series. The last Competition will be on September 13th at Skydive Cross Keys. SFC Abeln looks to hold on to his overall standing of 1st place over the first 3 meets. For a look at the scores of all the meets check out http://necpl.controltower.io

 

 

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