Lea Gabrielle Soars To New Heights

Thimbsupweb712On January 23rd in brilliant blue skies over Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fox News Journalist and Reporter, Lea Gabrielle climbed to unventured heights in the sky with The U.S. Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights.

Lea arrived at 7:00 am and was greeted by the Commander of the Golden Knights, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Weinrich, Tandem Team Leader Sergeant First Class Joe Jones, and the Women’s Champion 4-Way Formation Team (GKF4), Sergeants First Class Angela Nichols, Dannielle Woosley, Jennifer Davidson, and Laura Dickmeyer.

Lea completed her training, signed the necessary paper work and donned an Army black and gold jumpsuit. This accomplished Female Veteran Navy Pilot was well on the way to her once in a life time opportunity, placing her life in the hands of a very skilled professional Soldier.

Team pilots, Mr. Kenneth Breeden and Mr. Allen Aber, taxied the Viking Twin Otter to an elevation of 13,500 feet as the nervous reporter said to the Fox photographer, “This is the type of office I am so accustom to where I am flying, not jumping out of, a perfectly good airplane in to the thin air!”

Moments later the team videographers climbed out onto the struts of the aircraft and began filming the thrilling event. Lea and SFC Jones stepped into the door. She gave quick thumbs up and a patriotic salute. In a split second the pair went dove into the blue abyss of the morning sky and the magic had begun.

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The GKF4 women’s competition team flew down to Lea and grasped her hands forming a perfect circle in the air. The videographers skillfully flew around the formation capturing her elated expressions.

Soon Lea found herself under a gigantic Army canopy sailing left and right spiraling round and round. SFC Jones then turned into the wind for a beautiful soft landing.

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LTC Weinrich said, “The U.S. Army Parachute Team ‘Golden Knights’ enjoy the opportunity to conduct tandem parachute jumps with centers of influence around the country. While we treat all tandem passengers equally, the extent and effect of outreach news personalities and celebrities such as Ms. Lea Gabrielle have help inform the American public about the incredibly talented professionals we have across the Army Team. By including the Golden Knights’ Women’s 4-Way Formation Team into Lea’s jump, we demonstrated how the Golden Knights are, like the Army, a Team of Teams, which offer young men and women many opportunities. Because the Army generally operates in a joint environment with the other services, it was an honor working with Lea, a Navy Veteran, who understands the discipline, sacrifice, and professionalism required to serve in the military.”

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8 Way Team Trains At Avon Park

8-way As February draws to a close the Golden Knights 8-Way team has met with renewed vigor as they welcome new teammates SSG’s Dave Flynn and Sherri Jo Gallagher. The month has proved to be very intensive as the team members select new positions in the formation, conduct parachute maintenance, and begin work in the vertical wind tunnel.

All this work will help the team step off their winter training in Avon Park, FL on the right foot. As they work out the kinks training new personnel and ensure the gear is ready to go, the team is excited to begin training jumps on February 2nd.

Stay tuned for our next update from sunny Florida as the team sets their sights on the start of the 2015 competition season in hopes to bring home more gold for the US Army!

SSG Flynn

SSG Flynn

 

SGT Gallagher

SGT Gallagher

Golden Knights Vertical Program

Members of the Golden Knights Vertical Program (GKVP) practice in Vertical Formation Skydiving (VFS).

Members of the Golden Knights Vertical Program (GKVP) practice in Vertical Formation Skydiving (VFS).

In 1959 the founders of the United States Army Parachute Team (USAPT) had a plan – to beat the Russians in freefall parachuting competitions. The parachute team has seen many changes to the sport in its 50-year history and has developed a concept to change to be at the forefront of the sport of skydiving – Golden Knight 2025 (GK25). Although 2025 is still in the distant future, the USAPT needs to begin taking the necessary steps to get there now. As the sport of skydiving evolves, the Golden Knights plan to take the lead in the three-dimensional freefall discipline with our Golden Knight Vertical Program (GKVP). The Vertical Program’s mission will be to promote the United States Army while competing in Vertical Formation Skydiving (VFS); attending state, national and world record breaking events; and competing in the Dynamic 4-Way (D4W) indoor vertical freefall simulator (wind tunnel) competitions.

The GKVP, much like the Golden Knights 4-Way and 8-Way formation skydiving competition teams, is building formations to time. The difference between these two competition disciplines is the axis of flying. Instead of flying in what all skydivers are initially taught, which is flying on their “belly”, these competitors fly in a “head down” attitude or “sit” attitude. This creates a three-dimensional plane instead of a single plane. Each point, or formation block, is judged by the video produced by the aerial videographer. Another difference is the videographer flies below the formation looking back up in a head down attitude whereas our 4-Way and 8-Way team’s videographer flies above the formation looking down in a more traditional belly attitude.

D4W is a vertical freefall simulator (wind tunnel) only competition and split into two events – speed and a free round. For the speed round, time begins when the first flyer leaves the ground. Each team must perform a series of complex maneuvers and will receive a time penalty for improperly completing a maneuver (busts). The time stops when the fourth flyer exits the tunnel. For the free round, each team will have sixty seconds from the time they enter the tunnel to perform a choreographed routine developed by their team. Free rounds are judged on three different aspects: dynamic, artistic expression, and execution. The dynamic aspect is the variety of moves, flying, orientation, and visual effect of the routine; artistic expression is the creativity, originality, and rhythm; and execution is based on synchronization, precision, and the full use of allotted time.

The VFS Team consists of five personnel: SFC Christopher Acevedo (Team Leader and videographer) and the formation flyers consisting of SSG Reese Pendleton, SSG Trey Martin, SGT John Long, and SGT Dan Osorio. The D4W Team consists of the four VFS flyers and SSG Jesse Stahler (a member of our World Champion 8-Way FS Team) will join the VFS Team for this event. The VFS Team began last year as a part time element training when time permitted, they went to the USPA Nationals at Skydive Chicago, and brought home the gold in the Advanced Category of VFS. As it stands, the GKVP looks to compete at the USPA Nationals at Skydive Eloy and a tunnel competition in Russia in 2015; attending record camps in preparation for a head down world record attempt in 2015 at Skydive Chicago; and ultimately competing at the world meet by2018. The GKVP is excited and ready for the challenges ahead. Make sure you stay up to date with the progress of our brand new section right here on armygk.armylive.dodlive.mil or facebook.com/usarmygoldenknights.

-SFC Christopher Acevedo

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