Annual Certification Cycle Rolls On

The skies are blue in Homestead, Florida, where the Golden Knight’s Black and Gold demonstration teams and elite Tandem team are working hard to complete their Annual Certification Cycle.  The days start early in order to get as many training jumps as possible.   The demonstration teams have been working on all facets of the skills required to begin the show season.  These skills include various freefall formations, canopy relative work, target accuracy, and perfecting the narration used during our shows.

Canopy relative work, or CRW, is a newer component of parachuting where one jumper actually flies his parachute right into the hands of another jumper.  There are many different CRW formations that can be performed.   At the bottom of this page, you will see a seven stack built by the black demonstration team.

The newest members of the demonstration teams were in for a great treat with the arrival of Mr. Rob Reider.  Rob, an honorary Golden Knight and world renowned air show announcer, spent a few days sharing his experiences and knowledge with our up and coming narrators. 

The blue skies provide a perfect training environment for high altitude jumps, where the two teams are able to perfect their flights to perform a wide range of freefall formations.  Various team members wear red smoke on their legs to allow the spectator to see the formations from the ground. Once the outside jumpers reach 5,000 feet, they will each turn 180 degrees and streak to their opening point, creating a bomb burst with their smoke trails.  

The most important part of the jump, after the freefall formations and canopy work, is landing on the target.  Target accuracy is practiced and perfected every single jump during the two month certification period.  The jumper must be proficient in reading the wind conditions and maneuvering the parachute in order to land square on the target.

The tandem team has been busy training up the newest tandem instructors and providing tandem parachute jumps to various VIP’s.  The windy Florida weather has provided great experience to help this team prepare for their upcoming tandem camps.  There have been many happy faces coming off the drop zone thanks to this teams hard work.

The Golden Knights will continue to train hard in order to bring America’s Army to America’s Public.  We look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming shows!

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.

Reunited

Following the tragic events in September when SFC Howie Sanborn, one of our own, was hit by a distracted driver and left paralyzed, our Team’s dynamic had the potential to dwindle. However, illustrating the true character and quality of American Soldiers that are selected to represent today’s Army on the Golden Knights, plans were set in motion.

When SFC Sanborn began his recovery, his spark and character left lasting impressions with the Missouri University Health Care’s Trauma Team. From the surgeon and former Army Ranger who saved his life, Dr. Chris Nelson M.D., to the countless staff and nurses, he became a patient they would never forget.  Additionally, their staff also became permanent members of our Golden Knight family. While Sanborn was busy, forcing physical therapists to come up with new and more challenging tasks, MU Health Care and the Golden Knights began working to plan a public demonstration of mutual respect, gratitude and honor between the two organizations and to SFC Sanborn, as well.

University of Missouri, “Mizzou,” was scheduled to have their final home game against Syracuse on November 17th. What better way to show our appreciation for saving the life of Black Team’s Team Leader, than to do what we do best; We performed a nighttime pyrotechnic jump into Mizzou’s Stadium.

Not only did we perform for their entire community, but SFC Sanborn demonstrated his incredible determination and efforts towards always bettering himself and never letting a physical challenge hold him back. He proved wrong, the many doubts others may have had for him, and with the aid of braces and a walker, he waited on the 50 yard line for his Team to join him. He waited there on his feet- Standing, in front of thousands.

Saturday November 17th, was an emotional day for Black Team. For many, this was their first time seeing SFC Sanborn since before his accident. They’ve had to follow his progress via updates, photos and videos. However, on Saturday they got to see their Team Leader stand proudly once again. We thanked MU Health Care and the entire trauma team for their incredible part in making it happen. They joined Sanborn and his girlfriend, Faith, on the field and were publically recognized and thanked during the long awaited Black Team reunion.

As the final act of the Golden Knights’ appreciation to the care, selfless service, and open arms that were generously extended to SFC Sanborn, his girlfriend, Faith, and to the Team, Dr. Nelson was unanimously voted to be inducted into the Golden Knight family as an honorary Golden Knight. In front of all of his colleagues and peers he took a knee as LTC Enrique Melendez, the  Golden Knights’ Commander, shared the oath and “Knighted” Dr. Nelson with the Excalibur Sword.

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