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?

Gold Team visits the Chicago White Sox

Members of the United States Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, Gold Demonstration Team made a home run with fans Thursday at the Chicago White Sox, US Cellular Field with a surprise jump before the first pitch. 

SSG Tom Melton advanced the show to assure everything was in order to have a flawless demo weekend. SSG Melton accompanied by Mr. Speros Batistaos, CEO of SSCA presented a baton flown and passed in midair by the Golden Knights to the Manager of the Chicago White Sox Head Coach Robin Ventura.

 Later in the day SSG Melton and team mates presented the White Sox and Ms. Nichole Manning a historical lithograph of a 5 stack formation over Homestead, AFB which was taken this year at winter training.

 SGT George Perez just returned from school and pulled ground along with CSM Royce Manis and SSG Shelby Bixler who just returned from school and pulled upper winds on the top of the stadium.

 SSG Kevin Presgraves flew the Prisoner Of War (POW) flag right into center field before thousands of cheering fans. He took the microphone and headed over to the front of the stadium and narrated as the rest of the seven jumpers landed in centerfield with a dynamic demonstration.

 One jumper trailed the famous White Sox logo flag and another jumped in the black and white Vote for Peavey flag as everyone shouted and clapped. It was a beautiful day with a magnificent performance by SFC JD Berentis and members of the Gold Team.

 Though it was a steamy hot 100-degree day, fans didn’t seem to mind at all. The thrill and excitement of the fans resonated throughout the stand. Following the team demonstration, the jumpers gathered their parachutes and gear and many fans hollered out to the team, Thank you for your service, job well done.

 

 

 

Gold Team Has Rhythm

Once a year Wisconsin puts on a show that brings people from all over that state to one place to celebrate our Nation’s Independence. Rhythm & Booms is Madison, Wisconsin’s official Independence Day celebration and the largest single-day event in Wisconsin. The show offers many events to include a 5K run/walk and music stages to entertain everyone before the world-class fireworks performance.  The Gold Team had the honor to open the festivities with a mid-day mass formation jump giving the public a preview of what was to come later on that night.  Then after the sun went down the Gold Team took to the skies once again to put on an awe inspiring show of the people.  Jumpers lit up the sky with their pyro forming a single mass formation that could be seen from miles around.  Immediately following the jumpers the largest fireworks display in the state went off drawing the attention of the crowd and the jumpers for over 45 minutes.  Over 200,000 people were said to be in attendance for the event which is a record for the Rhythm & Booms.

Shortly after the Gold Team departed Wisconsin they traveled a short distance to Dubuque, Iowa for their 27th annual Independence Day Celebration.  Dubuque, Iowa is located in the Tri-State area of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin so the festival draws a huge crowd from all three states.  The Gold Team performed four times in three different locations over the two days they were there.  Dubuque is a well known demonstration location for the Golden Knights because of the obscure and tight landing areas.  Each of the events the team is given the bare minimum crowd clearance with a landing area surrounded by obstacles leaving the team only one option which is to land on target.  The first demonstration was at the Kennedy Mall parking lot on Monday which was basically a preview of the team held in the early afternoon to advertise the festival being held the next day.  The landing area was a 100 foot circle surrounded by new cars form the local dealership and plenty of spectators looking forward to watching the jumpers land in front of them.  As always the Gold Team delivered a perfect performance and built the confidence of the jumpers for the next jumps to come.

The final two jumps were going to be held at Mcdonald Park which is on the coast of the Mississippi bordering Iowa and Wisconsin.  The Air Show was said to of drawn over 225,000 who all were surrounding the target area hoping to catch a glimpse of the jumpers as they landed.  The    Team performed twice during the celebration one in the afternoon and another during the night to close out the show just before the fireworks.  Both performances were a great success especially the night jump because immediately after the jump the team was instantly surrounded by the massive crowd with everyone saying the performance was the greatest thing they had ever seen.  The view was impressive from the jumpers
point of view with the ground being lit up by flashes from peoples cameras.

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