One year ago The Gold Demonstration Team flew to Kemah Texas to jump onto the Boardwalk for the “Salute to Military Service”. Though the size of the target never changes, the area around it sure does-the Kemah Boardwalk is noted as one of the most difficult jumps of the year due to the buildings and trees surrounding it. The Team took off as scheduled but was faced with weather conditions that were close to the limits for an area that size. As the narrator, SFC Dustin Peregrin, stepped out of the aircraft he was faced with conditions beyond safety limits and proceeded to make the most difficult jump he had ever made. After landing safely the call was made to cancel the rest of the jumpers and end the show early. Even though jump did not go as planned the team was offered another chance to try again and redeem themselves.
This year as the team took to the skies they were met with clouds that pushed the Golden Knights distinctively painted C-31 down to 2500 feet and looking to get worse in a short while. Hopes were still high for the jumpers after hearing that the winds on the ground were light and coming out of the right direction making for an optimal approach to the boardwalk. As the jumpers left the plane in a signature Golden Knight stack out fashion cheers from the over 2000 people surrounding the target could be heard. The jump was a success as everyone made it in and hit the target one after another. You couldn’t ask for more appreciation from not only the sponsors but the people of Texas as everyone within view of the event wanted to come talk to and take pictures with the team. This jump concludes the travel season for the Gold Demonstration Team leaving only local jumps, the team can enjoy some long awaited downtime before heading off to winter training with the newest members of the Golden Knights.
In 1846 during the Mexican-American War, a detachment of Marines from the second-class Sloop-of-War Cyane landed to raise the American flag above the Plaza in what’s now called Old Town. As a result of that war, the U.S. acquired San Diego and the rest of California. At that time, today’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was part of an enormous rancho. Cattle grazed on the mesa now covered by runways. During the 1940s, both the Navy and the Marine Corps occupied Miramar. East Miramar (Camp Elliott) was used to train Marine artillery and armored personnel, while Navy and Marine Corps pilots trained on the western side. The bases were combined and designated Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in 1945. After several years of realignment Miramar came close to being sold back to the City of San Diego but after an absence of 50 years, MCAS Miramar is once again the home of the Marine Corps’ West Coast air power.
The MCAS Miramar Air Show is the largest military air show in the country hosting over 30 performers and bringing in an estimated 500,000 spectators. The Gold Demonstration Team had the honor of opening the three day event by flying in the American Flag every morning and also flying with the team was the Navy Parachute Team “Leap Frogs”. The two teams joined forces to show the people of San Diego what real precision skydiving and target accuracy is. The team also was scheduled to perform a twilight jump on Saturday evening and was invited by the Blue Angels to jump out of there C-130 “Fat Albert”. This was the first time for some of the team to ride in Fat Albert and experience the extreme take off and Zero Gravity roll over which brought smiles to everyone on board and was a great start to the night performance.
The team was welcomed and appreciated for their performances by the citizens of San Diego and the commended by the MCAS Miramar Commander Colonel J.P Farnam by receiving a copy of the original art work from the air show poster. Over all this air show was great success and an awesome place for the team to be for their last trip to the west coast.
The second annual Tallahassee Regional Airport Fun Fest is a small but growing event put on to bring the citizens of Florida’s state capitol together for a day of fun in the sun. The first Fun Fest held at the airport was originally held as a local barbeque contest with a crowd of only a couple thousand and a handful of static aircraft displays. This year the director wanted to expand on the idea and bring in a couple of flying acts to the event and the Gold Demonstration Team was fortunate enough to be invited.
The team was accompanied by Larry King aerobatics and together both put on a show that drew more than 10,000 people to the small airport. The Gold Team was also joined with two members of the 82nd Free Fall Team, SSG Matt Acord and SSG Charles Peteet were asked to fly with the Knights in an effort to open doors between parachuting demonstration teams. Between each performance the team went to the local Army recruiting booth to receive help packing parachutes and sign autographs. The people of Tallahassee were more than happy to open their doors to the Golden Knights and even extended an invitation to join them in future events.