“Thunder Over The Boardwalk,” is one of the most popular events in Atlantic City, and one of the very best air shows in the country, with its heart-stopping feats, aerobatics maneuvers, formation flying and solo routines by military and civilian pilots. An estimated 800,000 people were said to be in attendance and every one of them with a front row seat to watch the Gold Demonstration Team perform some precision skydiving over the Atlantic City Beach. This was the tenth year for the amazing air show so all the stops were pulled out with performances by Geico Skytypers, Black Diamond Jet Team, Red Eagle Aerobatic and the USAF Thunderbirds just to mention a few ensuring that this year would be the most memorable. This is also one of the few air shows that the Golden Knights have attended every year since it began. Over 30 acts entertained the Atlantic City patrons during the six hour airshow leaving no gaps between demonstrations and with nothing but blue skies and light winds no one was disappointed. The team jumped the day before the air show on the media day and to the disappointment of the team no press wanted to ride up with them during the jump but all their reasons were the same that they wanted to be right there at the target area to see the team’s precision landings.
On Friday the day of the air show the Gold Team opened the event with SSG Brian Karst as the narrator and accompanying him was SFC Dustin Peregrin who piloted their two stack into the target area. The Gold Team was also accompanied by SFC Matt Davidson, SFC Sean Sweeney, SFC Justin Blewitt and SFC Drew Starr from the Men’s Eight Way Competition Team allowing for impressive mass formations that could be seen down the entire beach line. The performance was filled with almost everything in the Team’s arsenal showing the people swooping, accuracy, several different CRW formation and CRW landings. After the show while the Team packed their parachutes they were greeted with many faithful air show followers that said they had been to the air show every year and had never missed the Golden Knights perform. After packing the team lined up for some autographs at the Army Recruiting booth where many enthusiastic fans were already waiting to meet the jumpers they just saw.
The Oregon International Air Show held in Hillsboro was the last stop on a three week trip the Gold Team took to the northwest. This location offered the team an opportunity to jump into three different locations. First was a jump in to the Yamhill County Fair and Rodeo where the Team jumped in to celebrate the opening of the Fair. The jump was a great success and the team was welcomed with open arms and loud cheers as each of the jumpers landed. Just after the jump the team cleared the arena to make way for the bull riding competition. Only a few thousand were in attendance for the performance but all received a wonderful show and also had a chance to meet the Knights afterwards at the Army Recruiting Booth. The second location was at the home of Bob Terry who is the Washington County Commissioner and a major supporter of the Air Show. The jump was to open the social for the performers and volunteers of the Air Show. There was a special guest in attendance at the social, Carl Deiz one of the original Tuskegee gave the team a few moments to show their appreciation for his service and take a few photos. The show the team put on for the small crowd was just a preview of what was to come over the weekend.
On Friday the Gold Team put on two performances, an evening and a night jump. The two jumps were for VIPs and special invites and all of whom received a front row seat to a world class performance. Before and after the jumps the other acts performed to include the Thunderbirds, John Klatt’s stunt plane, and ending the night with 20 minute firework display. The show was not just scene by the VIPs it was also viewed by hundreds of onlookers outside the airport gates. Traffic was redirected away from the airport during the Air Show to prevent any serious accidents due to people stopping to see the acts. On Saturday and Sunday the team got to really show off by putting on two full shows for over 150,000 said to be in attendance. The weather was perfect for the show and to also fulfill a promise for a tandem ride the Gold Team gave to SFC Leroy Petry back in Washington. Medal of Honor recipient SFC Leroy Petry was given a chance to jump with the Knights while in Washington and also back at Laurinburg, NC where the Golden Knights train but bad weather put a hold on the
plans. Luckily the clouds stayed away and SFC Noah Watts made the jump with SFC Petry and it all went off without a
hitch. SFC Petry was very grateful for the opportunity and said it was one of the best things he had ever done. All together the three week trip was a great success.
Twin Falls is a small town in the southern region of Idaho that is home to breathtaking water falls, Base Jumping and the return of the Magic Valley Air Show. It has been several years since the city has had an Air show so to start it off right Twin Falls brought back the Golden Knights. Close to 50,000 people were said to be in attendance with many coming from almost 100 miles away to see the many great acts of the show to include the Blue Angles, MXS-R aerobatic aircraft, the WWII B-25 bomber, “Maid in the Shade” and of course the Golden Knights Gold Demonstration Team. This air show was the first in a while that the team had great weather over the whole weekend which allowed them to finally relax and not have to change the show due to low clouds or high winds.
The Gold Team started off the show Friday night with a twilight performance featuring a combination of Pyro and Smoke which could be seen over the flat lands for miles around. The first jumper out was SSG Brian Karst who was the Narrator and was wearing both smoke and pyro and then the rest of the team jumped and lit up the sky showing the great people of Twin Falls what precision skydiving looks like. The next two days the team performed four shows doing everything from the full show maneuvers to exciting Canopy Relative Work. The turnaround between jumps was very short so the team was not able to walk through the crowd right away but the patient audience waited until the end of the second jump to gather by the Army Recruiting booth and receive signatures and get pictures with the team.
It was not all work while at Twin Falls some of the Gold Team got a chance to take part in the newly opened zip line along the Snake River Valley. The Recruiters arranged an afternoon event for some Future Soldiers while SSG Brian Karst, SSG Shelby Bixler, and SGT Trey Martin conducted a Radio interview just outside their office. Just following the Interview SSG Dodge the Station Commander told the team that “Zip The Snake” Zip Line would like to give them a complementary ride. Overall Twin Falls was one of the most welcoming and hospitable communities the team has had the pleasure of visiting and was told that they would be sought out to come back again next year.