Black Team Soars Over South Africa

IMG_5230On September 12th the Black Demonstration Team departed Fort Bragg, NC to begin our travels to Pretoria, South Africa for the 2014 Air Show and Defence exhibition held on Waterkloof Airforce Base. With the support of our operations section, the US Embassy and the South African Golden Eagles Parachute Team, we arrived in South Africa on the 15th of September ready to support the air show and share the blue skies with members of the Golden Eagles Parachute Team.

Day one in South Africa was spent setting up and inspecting our gear, familiarization of the base, landing areas, and getting to know our newest friends of the sky, The Golden Eagles! We made two rehearsal jumps on Waterkloof Air Force Base where the team conducted one mass formation jump in addition to a modified full show that included a baton pass, diamond track, and a mini mass formation with a team member of the Golden Eagles Parachute Team Major Constant Benade setting the base.

We performed one stack-out jump above Waterkloof AFB on Sunday afternoon, after low ceiling (clouds) prevented us from jumping that morning. The stack-out performance also included a two-stack canopy relative work display by teammates SSG Chris Clark and gold team member SFC Brian Karst. The estimated 150,000 spectators came alive as our black and gold canopies gracefully landed along the crowd line, while Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” played in the background.

The Black Demonstration Team extends a huge thank you to our friends and family of the Golden Eagles Parachute Team and members of the US Embassy for their hospitality and coordination during our stay in South Africa. We arrived on Fort Bragg Wednesday evening and quickly refit our gear and spent time with family prior to departing to Kansas City, MO in preparation for our Monday Night Football jump into the Kansas City versus the Seattle Seahawks game.

Blue Skies!  SSG Shelby Bixler    Photos By  SGT David Flynn

The Golden Eagles Parachute Team

The Golden Eagles Parachute Team

Black Team Litho Presentation

Black Team Litho Presentation

Black Team Ready to go!

Black Team Ready to go!

Thunder Over Santa Maria

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Last weekend our team traveled to the west coast and arrived in Santa Maria, CA for the 26th Annual Thunder Over the Valley Air Show. The Santa Maria community spent the past nine years requesting the presence of the US Army Golden Knights for their air show lineup.

We performed four shows above the Santa Maria Public Airport including two full shows, one mass formation and a stack out (low show performance) due to low visibility. The air show sponsors as well as the local community welcomed us by hosting three socials throughout the weekend located at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight. We all had the opportunity to meet with the air show sponsors, other air show performers, and local community officials to include Mayor Alice Patino.

The community of Santa Maria is very supportive of our Military as we were presented with the Patriot Freedom Key, which we will proudly hang in our team room. We had the honor of meeting a very special guest during our last social, a 92-year-old Santa Maria woman, Lieutenant Marian Marrinan USAAF (United States Army Airforce), who proudly represented our Nation during World War II as a nurse and spoke of her experiences during the first week of Normandy. 1LT Marrinan had an opportunity to meet the team during the social and then proudly stood close to show center during the teams last performance for the weekend, which included a baton pass, diamond track, and mass formation.

We were then individually introduced by our narrator SPC Luke Olk in front of approximately eight thousand spectators who were anxiously waiting for us to make our way to the Army Strong stage for a meet and greet.

The signature of our performances will continue to be the ability we have to interact with the American Public, they assist us with repacking our parachutes, sharing our Army stories, and signing autographs.

This was our last show with the highly motivated Army Strong stage crew (staffed by the Army Marketing and Research Group) and we hope we have the opportunity to reach out to the American public with them during future air shows and demonstrations. The Army Strong stage has become a hit with their music selection, high energy, and local recruiters assisting in connecting today’s Army with the American public. These lasting impressions may one day inspire a young man or woman to become the next US Army Golden Knight! Black team will be performing in Cleveland, Ohio this Labor Day weekend.

Blue Skies!   SDG Bixler, Photos by Jerry Morrison

 

Black Team Returns to Reading, Pa

ReadingCollage 72714BKGround attractions at the Reading Aerofest included a classic car show, open to pre-1970 vehicles, aircraft displays, and many anxious spectators awaiting the Golden Knight’s opening performance for the weekend. The Golden Knight’s were invited back to the Reading Aerofest that was last sponsored back in 1998 which was also the last time the team made it’s appearance there.

We had the honor of welcoming several media representatives on board our C31 Friendship aircraft this weekend for an up close and personal tour of the skies above Reading Regional Airport. Each of them layered for the temperature change on the climb to altitude and securely seated right next to both jump doors. We truly get a sense of the impressions made on the American public when talking with our media passengers during the climb to 12,500 feet. Each of them commenting on the composure, professionalism, and bravery of each jumper as they prepare to exit the Golden Knight C31 for their designated maneuver.

The Black demonstration team performed five shows during the weekend to include three mass performances and two full shows. The team quickly exits the aircraft for our mass formation as each one of us chases the jumper in front using both jump doors. We then fly our bodies together using our hands, arms legs and shoulders as flight controls. Once we are all linked together the formation continues to fly at approximately 120 miles per hour, while SSG Reese Pendleton circles us setting up the best angles for photos and video. The crowd favorite is when we separate prior to opening our parachutes creating the signature bomb burst affect with our smoke trails!

A special thanks to the Reading Recruiting Station for their professionalism and understanding of our mission in connecting the US Army to the American public! And as always thank you to Dave Schultz Air Show and the community of Reading, Pa for inviting us back.

SSG Shelby Bixer, photos by SSG Reese Pendleton

IMGciv airptrl_7981_circle IMGWenegar_7851

 

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