2014 Golden Knight of the Year

14 Berentis

SFC John D. Berentis (J.D.) received the prestigious honor of being selected as the 2014 Golden Knight of the Year by his peers, at the team Christmas party December 3, 2014.

SFC Berentis hails from Yuma, AZ and attended Central Arizona Community College. He is an Airborne Ranger serving on the Golden Knights as the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC). He has served as the Gold Team Leader and free fall Videographer, Demonstration Parachutist, and tandem master for the Gold Team.

J.D. enlisted into the Army in November 1990 and while serving at Hunter Army Airfield, Savanna, GA. with the 1st Ranger Battalion, he deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Irish Gold and also to Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy. His next assignments were in Yuma, AZ. and Fort Bragg, NC. SFC Berentis attended the Golden Knights Assessment and Selection Program in 2003 and was ‘Knighted’ onto the team upon completion of the program. He spent his first year on the team learning the ins and outs of life on the team and mastering his freefall videography and still photography skills. Since 1989, when J.D. executed his first freefall parachute jump, he has logged more than 4,500 freefall parachute jumps, 760 tandems, and 62 military static line jumps. In his free-time J.D. enjoys riding street bikes, motocross, and video editing.

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.





HOT In Homestead

   The United States Army Parachute Team began Winter Training at Homestead, ARB today in a sweltering 80-degree weather.

    The Black and Gold Demonstration Teams jumped right through the day with picturesque gray, blue and huge white puffy clouds and even a slight bit of rain.

    World Record Swoop Champion, Sergeant 1st Class Greg Windmiller gave a very intricate class to about twelve team members in canopy proficiency.

    The newest team members that graduated from the Assessment and Selection Program in October seemed a little tense but very eager to get started, while the senior members where just happy to get back to training.

    Each new guy is assigned an old guy to mentor and advise through out the show season, beginning with the intense two months of winter training.

    Today both demonstration teams completed eight jumps before the liquid sunshine came in to nourish our beautiful bright green-sodded drop zone.

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