8way For members of the Golden Knights 8 Way Formation Team attending winter training in Avon Park, FL this year the stakes couldn’t be higher. The month’s worth of jumps here is the kick off of a two-year campaign to secure the teams third consecutive World Championship Title. A feat no other Golden Knights team has accomplished even once in this century.

GK8 may have escaped the weather back home in North Carolina, but the hard work, dedication, and discipline were packed into the team’s suitcases even before the parachutes. There are no sandy beaches or fun filled trips to amusement parks in the near future for this team of Golden Knights. They have their eyes set on one goal and one goal alone, Training to WIN!

This training Saturday started with a 0530 wakeup for the team as members perform their morning rituals. Some start with coffee, some with a run, but all conclude with departing to the drop zone before the sun crests the horizon. They’ve spent the previous evening thinking about the day’s upcoming jumps, what they’ve done well so far, and what they can fix today. Each jump is a tremendous learning opportunity, so every effort is put forth into preparation, and no jump is wasted.

The drop zone is set up and GK8 promptly goes to work on creepers. Each move of the skydive is meticulously analyzed, repeated, and committed to memory. When it comes to competition, there are no do-over’s or ‘fun jumps’. The gear is inspected, donned, and the team rehearses the sequence one more time from the mock-up aircraft door before heading to the airplane.

The ride to altitude is silent. This is the last 20 minutes each jumper will be able to reflect on this particular sequence before performing it in real time. At this point, the skydive becomes nearly completely mental. Each jumper is walking through the complex system of moves, grips, checks, and keys he must successfully complete in order to score just one point. Then the process is repeated an average of 20 times before the skydive ends.

GK8 completes the jumps in sets of four, with short breaks in between each set so the aviators can fuel the aircraft, and the competitors can fuel their bodies. The team watches the air-to-air video and picks apart each jump frame by frame, identifying things to fix on the next set of four jumps. After the video debrief, it’s back down on the creepers to repeat the process all over again. Once the jump day is finished, it’s time to learn the new set of skydives for tomorrow’s work. Which will occupy the competitor’s minds that evening, as they ice sore elbows, backs, and necks, write notes about the days training in their binders, and begin rest to start all over at 0530 the next morning?

8wayrubick

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.”

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4036111781001/lea-gabrielle-joins-golden-kn

 

http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=7BETKX1OubE&u=/user/usarmygoldenknights%3Ffeature%3Dem-share_video_user

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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

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