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.
The Sun Bowl is the second oldest college bowl game in the United States right behind the Rose Bowl and is played at the end of the year in El Paso Texas. For over 20 years the Golden Knights have had the honor of jumping in for the opening ceremonies making it a pregame tradition and the Gold Demonstration Team had the honor of carrying on that tradition. Unfortunately upon throwing the Wind Drift Indicators prior to the jump the winds were well over the limitations for the team to jump safely. The team held out as long as possible before canceling but still gave fans a glimpse of Golden Knight Air by flying over the stadium all the way to kick off. After landing and making it back to the stadium the team was still received well by the sponsors and loyal fans giving handshakes and hi-fives as the jumpers passed by. Even though the jump was canceled no one was disappointed and the team was told that they will still be asked for again next year.
One year ago The Gold Demonstration Team flew to Kemah Texas to jump onto the Boardwalk for the “Salute to Military Service”. Though the size of the target never changes, the area around it sure does-the Kemah Boardwalk is noted as one of the most difficult jumps of the year due to the buildings and trees surrounding it. The Team took off as scheduled but was faced with weather conditions that were close to the limits for an area that size. As the narrator, SFC Dustin Peregrin, stepped out of the aircraft he was faced with conditions beyond safety limits and proceeded to make the most difficult jump he had ever made. After landing safely the call was made to cancel the rest of the jumpers and end the show early. Even though jump did not go as planned the team was offered another chance to try again and redeem themselves.
This year as the team took to the skies they were met with clouds that pushed the Golden Knights distinctively painted C-31 down to 2500 feet and looking to get worse in a short while. Hopes were still high for the jumpers after hearing that the winds on the ground were light and coming out of the right direction making for an optimal approach to the boardwalk. As the jumpers left the plane in a signature Golden Knight stack out fashion cheers from the over 2000 people surrounding the target could be heard. The jump was a success as everyone made it in and hit the target one after another. You couldn’t ask for more appreciation from not only the sponsors but the people of Texas as everyone within view of the event wanted to come talk to and take pictures with the team. This jump concludes the travel season for the Gold Demonstration Team leaving only local jumps, the team can enjoy some long awaited downtime before heading off to winter training with the newest members of the Golden Knights.