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Golden Opportunities – German Jump Wings and Cutaway Training

Gold Team is taking full advantage of our training days at home to perfect our performances for the opening of the show season.  The team is gearing up and is very excited to get on the road and perform again.  This past week was very busy with our annual cutaway training.  The cutaway maneuver is one of the four separate demonstrations conducted during a full show.  Though it sounds and looks very dramatic, there is absolutely no danger to the jumper.  During the cutaway, the jumper is actually wearing three parachutes instead of the two normally worn.  The jumper deploys the first parachute much higher than normal and intentionally causes it to malfunction; demonstrating the procedure that would normally take place should an actually emergency occur.  It is very exciting to watch!

 This past Wednesday, Golden Knights from several sections of the Team came together to conduct a jump with German ambassadors, in their C-160 (a smaller version of the American C-130).  As the Germans took the Golden Knights up on their very last load of the day, it proved worth the wait.  The twenty jumpers, included ten Golden Knights, German ambassadors, military tandems, and other US military free fall personnel from Ft. Bragg, jumped just prior to sunset.  The view was amazing and the jump was conducted flawlessly.  Thank you to our German friends for such a great experience!

 The weather is looking good for training in the upcoming weeks and we are looking forward to seeing all of our proud military supporters again soon.  Until then…Blue Skies!!

cuttaway dirt dive formation Group Ramp

 

A Final Tribute to SSG Eric Holman

As the Golden Knight Demonstration and Tandem sections arrive at Homestead, FL, we begin to prepare for the new season to represent America’s Army. However, before we begin, we recognize one last tribute from 2012. As most followers know, Staff Sergeant Eric Holman, a 4 year member of the Gold Demonstration Team, was killed this past August, by an enemy improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Holman always had every detail of his life planned out. With his passing, few were surprised how he had his own memorial planned out- to the smallest detail. Being a fellow Golden Knight, he asked for his ashes to be released in free fall, on his birthday, by his Golden Knights Teammates, over the drop zone where he learned to skydive just outside of Pittsburgh.

Holman, 39, of Evans City, PA.; assigned to 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Aug. 15 in Godalia, Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. His wishes were followed to the letter. Family, friends, his former brothers on the Golden Knights, and his most recent brothers with his Ordnance Battalion all assembled on November 20th to celebrate Eric Holman’s life and witness the arrival to his final resting place.

Holman logged more than 2800 free fall parachute jumps, 1000 tandems and 21 military static line jumps. It was our honor to perform one last jump with a father, son, dear friend, teammate and permanent brother.

We will never forget the sacrifices paid by our fellow brothers and sisters, allowing us to reach 2013 and continue our way of life. Thank you to the Holman family for sharing SSG Eric Holman with all of us and allowing him to save the lives of so many fellow Soldiers during his time with us.

http://armygk.armylive.dodlive.mil/2012/08/20/golden-knight-gives-the-ultimate-sacrifice/

http://www.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-eric-s-holman/6568311

 

 

World Champions!

SFC Isenbarger holds the Ottley Sword high as GK8 Stands atop the podium. The Ottley Sword dates back to the 1970s, and is awarded to the best 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team in the World every 2 years.

Representing the USA, members of the Golden Knights 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team (GK8) have earned the right to be called “World Champions” by winning Gold at the 2012 World Parachuting Championships in Dubai, U.A.E.   In addition, GK8 set a new World Record for most points scored in competition- 229, beating the old record of 224 set in 1997.

Winning the Gold was no easy task, as the French National Team arrived in Dubai determined to defend their reigning World Championship.   France showed this determination in Round 1, beating GK8 by 1 point to start off the competition.   After a tie in Round 2, GK8 decided to turn up the intensity, and it paid off.  GK8 had a near perfect performance in Round 3, while France suffered from a minor mistake, resulting in 5 point swing in favor of the Knights.   GK8 entered Round 4 knowing very well that a 4 point lead was not enough to become conservative against the reigning World Champions.  With another high intensity jump, the Knights picked up 3 more points on the French.   The 7 point lead did not last long as France fired back in rounds 5 & 6, cutting the Knights lead back down to 4 points.  GK8 was determined to remain on the offensive, but also limit costly mistakes for the final four rounds.  The strategy proved successful, as the two top teams went on to tie in each of the remaining four rounds.  GK8 landed from Round 10 fairly confident that they had held onto their lead, and the competition pressure that had mounted over 8 days finally started to lift.  Members of the Golden Knights 8-Way Team broke out in celebration immediately after the judges confirmed their victory.  Four years of intense training and determination had paid off!

SFC Brian Krause receives a water shower in celebration.

“It’s been an honor to represent the U.S. Army and the United States of America on this World Stage.   I believe we demonstrated that, when properly trained, American Soldiers will prevail.” –SFC Mike LaRoche

This was the first World Meet for the Golden Knight Female 4-Way team. In preparation, this two-year team completed 800 training jumps and multiple hours of tunnel time.  This year kicked off with the Shamrock Showdown in Deland, FL. There, GKF4 finished with a 17.2 average. The competition at the World Meet was mostly familiar. Of the 14 female teams, GKF4 had faced 7 of them at one time or another. These teams were Canada, Brazil, Russia, Norway, UK, UAE and France. GKF4 led the competition for the first 7 rounds. In Round 8, France pulled ahead by one point. In the end, GKF4 won Silver with a 20.1 average.

The Competition Team will now enjoy some time off with family for the Holidays.  The Knights plan to train hard next year to defend their titles and continue the tradition of excellence that has been established.  Army Strong!

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