Twin Falls Welcomes back The Golden Knights

Twin Falls is a small town in the southern region of Idaho that is home to breathtaking water falls, Base Jumping and the return of the Magic Valley Air Show.  It has been several years since the city has had an Air show so to start it off right Twin Falls brought back the Golden Knights.  Close to 50,000 people were said to be in attendance with many coming from almost 100 miles away to see the many great acts of the show to include the Blue Angles, MXS-R aerobatic aircraft, the WWII B-25 bomber, “Maid in the Shade” and of course the Golden Knights Gold Demonstration Team.  This air show was the first in a while that the team had great weather over the whole weekend which allowed them to finally relax and not have to change the show due to low clouds or high winds. 

The Gold Team started off the show Friday night with a twilight performance featuring a combination of Pyro and Smoke which could be seen over the flat lands for miles around. The first jumper out was SSG Brian Karst who was the Narrator and was wearing both smoke and pyro and then the rest of the team jumped and lit up the sky showing the great people of Twin Falls what precision skydiving looks like.  The next two days the team performed four shows doing everything from the full show maneuvers to exciting Canopy Relative Work.  The turnaround between jumps was very short so the team was not able to walk through the crowd right away but the patient audience waited until the end of the second jump to gather by the Army Recruiting booth and receive signatures and get pictures with the team. 

It was not all work while at Twin Falls some of the Gold Team got a chance to take part in the newly opened zip line along the Snake River Valley.  The Recruiters arranged an afternoon event for some Future Soldiers while SSG Brian Karst, SSG Shelby Bixler, and SGT Trey Martin conducted a Radio interview just outside their office.  Just following the Interview SSG Dodge the Station Commander told the team that “Zip The Snake” Zip Line would like to give them a complementary ride.  Overall Twin Falls was one of the most welcoming and hospitable communities the team has had the pleasure of visiting and was told that they would be sought out to come back again next year.

Gold Team Takes on the Gray Skies of Washington State

Gray skies and low clouds are the most common views in the North West State of Washington and that did not change for the Gold Demonstration Team during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo.  Despite the low celling the Gold Team still managed to complete two of the three scheduled jumps over the two day event.  Over 200,000 spectators got to witness the team perform a modified low show each day bringing smiles to everyone watching. 

The first jump was canceled due to almost no visibility above just a few hundred feet but the next jump on Saturday gave the Gold Team a chance to show off their skills.  The time line called for 30 minutes of show time with only 2500 feet of altitude so The Gold Team Leader SFC J.D. Berentis split the show up into three different passes of Swooping, Target Accuracy and CRW.  The crowd was amazed as the smaller parachutes flown by 1SG Bryan Schnell, SSG Reese Pendleton and SGT Jeshua Stahler swept across the ground right in front them. Then the larger parachutes slowly floated down showing the control and accuracy the Jumpers have.  The last pass brought the excitement of Canopy Relative Work as a Bi-Plane traveled over the people while carrying the Washington State flag.

Sunday the Team was honored to be joined by Medal Of Honor Recipient SFC Leroy Petry who saved several of his fellow Soldiers in Afghanistan when his unit came under attack during a daytime mission.  SFC Petry attempted to throw back a grenade that landed near his men when it detonated severing his right hand but saving everyone around.  SFC Petry continued to stay in the fight after being wounded and his actions led to several soldiers making it out safely.  SFC Joe Jones was scheduled to give SFC Petry a Tandem ride during the show but due to the low clouds the ride was cancelled but he was still thrilled to have gotten to ride up with the Gold Team during the performance. 

The low clouds also caused to change in plans for the Team as well.  As the jump time approached rain started to fall over the target area forcing the Team to make a mass exit without a narrator pass and combining all of the previous maneuvers from yesterday into a one pass show.  The Gold Team came through as always showing the people of Washington why the Golden Knight are the best at what they do.  Also during the jump SFC J.D. Berentis and SSG Tom Pryjda put together a Bi-Plane and flew SFC Petry’s Medal of Honor Flag and a Baton which would later be presented to him.     

The Team had extra time available while still in Washington so the Recruiting Battalion arranged for most of the Future Soldiers to get together and meet with the Knights at a local recruiting office.  Each member told their Army story and what led them to becoming a Golden Knight as well as the other opportunities that have become available to them.

Hottest Place in US Features the Golden Knights

The Great City Overview

Sweltering triple digit temperatures did not prevent over 600,000 fans from coming out to see The US Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights at Gary’s South Shore Air Show this weekend.

Sparkling Golden Knights

Multi-talented members of the Gold Demonstration Team gave an all star performance this weekend opening the show on the shore of the beach literally with a glimmering bomburst of sparkling pyro lighting up the pitch black skies of Gary.

"NightLine" up

The weekend’s tripleheader began with the normal FAA Briefing with the Pilots, CSM Royce Manis and Team leader, SFC JD Berentis.

 

 

SGT Trey Martin and SSG Brian Karst headed down to the Beach to do interviews for the Post Tribune with Jerry Davich and a WLPR, 89.1-FM remote broadcast live from the 13th Air Show over Marquette Park.

Meanwhile, SSG Tom Melton and SFC Dustin Peregrin attended an event hosted for a Make-a-Wish group held at the Gary Jet Center where they spent time with the children, signed autographs and distributed photos and stickers.

Aviation Hard at Work

Aviation crew chief SGT Austin Bowman, and the team pilots Mr Allen Aber and CW4 Jason Davis followed their traditional mission checking procedures and preparing the team F-27 Friendship Fokker for a safe flight.

Saturday and Sunday the team began the presentation dropping wind drift indicators followed by the playing of the National Anthem as narrator for the day, SGT Brian Karst jumped in the American Flag.

SSG Tom Pryjda

 

 

Team Leader SFC JD Berentis

Seven other members of the Gold Team jumped in, with three of the parachutist flying the Illinois, Indiana and Army Strong Flag on to the sandy beach in front of thousands of exhilarated cheering fans.

As soon as everyone touched down they gathered their gear and hustled to a van for the 40 mile ride back to the Jet Center to load up and launch again for the 2:30pm time on target.

Planes Orbiting Around Jumper

 

They prepped for the second demo, briefed the media, which was accompanying them and did a quick dirt dive (ground reenactment of the maneuver planed for the mass jump) and up to 9000 feet for the last performance of the day.

 

 

Representing Soldiers Everywhere

Following the last demo the entire team headed over to the Army Recruiting booth to sign autographs and greet the American public.

What aView of the City

It is not all stars and glitter as one may think for these dedicated, professional Soldiers who claim an office in the sky to do their jobs on a daily basis. There is extensive underlying work done for months, weeks and days in the preparation of each and every performance.

 

 

 

Meetings, schedule changes, POC’s, biographies, FAA waivers, lodging, vehicles, television, radio interviews and media rides are just  a few of the detailed issues, which all have to be arranged and coordinated beforehand.

Dirtdive

The Army’s “Golden Knights” are the only Department of Defense sanctioned aerial Parachute Demonstration Team. They traverse across the country as “Ambassadors of the Army” to help encourage and mentor aspiring youth to pursue the multiple opportunities available with the Army.

 

SFC Andrew Starr

Recruiters

How Many GK Autographs Can I Get?

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