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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

 

 

Hidden Guardian’s of the Knights’

GaurdiansLike the tales of days of ole the secret hero’s identities were rarely known. The US Army Parachute has a hidden team of skilled tradesmen that protect the lives of passengers they escort throughout the land.

We have an elite team of proficient expert contract maintainers from Kay and Associates, who work continually to maintain and assure the teams, make the mission safely and without delay.

It is not rare to see two aircraft docked in the team hangar at Pope Army Airfield on any given day. This week alone, they masterfully have already completed a 125 hour inspection on the teams Freedom, 80263 Twin Otter making several component changes.

Aircraft Mechanic, George Navy a trained Army Soldier and now contractor for “Team Six” checked the thirteen fuel nozzles, inspected filters, combustion in the Pratt & Whitney engine in lieu of the old planes carburetors.

I asked where they learned about maintaining all of the team’s fleet of aircraft and Jason Drozd, another of our skilled aircraft mechanics showed me the license he received from the FAA from the Airframe and Power Plant (AMP) School which he attended for two years. He also explained various part of the engine to include the operation of a hi- capacity capacitor and how it received a voltage charge.

George invited us back to observe the Hot Section Inspection, which will be done in about forty more hours of flight for our Fokker 607. They routinely conduct that inspection on our C-31’s every 3,000 hours of flight, which makes me feel really comfortable.

This Team of experts has competently worked on our two C-31 Friendship Fokker’s since they arrived at the team in 1985. These aircraft have a life span limited to 90,000 landings, but both of our aircraft have in excess of 14,500 hours of total use thus far and over 15,000 landings.

Being I personally fly in the team aircraft along with demonstrators, competitors, Tandem Team and Centers of Influence it is so assuring to know just how safe we are due to the outstanding service and maintenance of these Our Kay and Associates Hero’s!

Freedom One of four of the  USAPT Twin Otters

Freedom One of four of the USAPT Twin Otters

13 Fuel Nozzles to be changed

13 Fuel Nozzles to be changed

George Navy pulling down cowlings to work on aircraft

George Navy pulling down cowlings to work on aircraft

Aircraft Mechanic Jason Drozd by Freedom

Aircraft Mechanic Jason Drozd by Freedom

Fuel Nozzles on Twin Otter Freedom

George Navy Checking Hartaell Prop During 125 Hour Inspection

Gear Check on C-31 Friendship Fokker

Gear Check on C-31 Friendship Fokker

 

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