Gold Team Helps Celebrate 100 years of Army Maintenance

The Army arrived at Tobyhanna located in Pennsylvania in 1912 and a small Artillery Commander was given the assignment to find an appropriate east coast location for an artillery training camp.  During that time, the Army’s only artillery training camp east of the Mississippi River was in Wisconsin enev though most of the Army units were in the north east. After inspecting several sites a location near the rail station in Tobyhanna was deemed suitable.  The land was leased in August from Dr. George Rhoads, a prominent local resident, and directed the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery to train there. The unit remained in the Poconos until October.  That initial camp proved so successful that the Army decided to return the next summer, and to also set up a camp of instruction for militia batteries and a school for militia officers.  In the summer of 1913,the 3rd Field Artillery marched to Tobyhanna from Fort Myer, leaving Virginia on June 2 and arriving at Tobyhanna on June 18. The 3rd Field Artillery arrived three days ahead of the first of several militia units, and assisted those units in their training.  This was just the beginning for the camp as later it became a POW camp as well as a storage facility for the majority of the military’s obsolete equipment.  After the end of World War II the Army realized the camp’s potential for supply and maintenance which had led to its current function of the Military’s largest electronic maintenance facility.

Due to Tobyhanna’s exceptional history it was only fitting that the Gold Demonstration Team put on a performance celebrating the depot’s birthday.  The team did three jumps over the weekend with the first one on Friday and the next two on Saturday.  The initial jump on Friday was for the Media and was not open to the public.  On Saturday the gates were open allowing thousands to gain limited access to the compound to look at the displays and get a chance to see the Golden Knights put on a world class show. After the morning mass show the clouds started to roll in leaving limited visibility of the target area but the team still had a job to do.  The team circled at a lower altitude where it was easier to find some holes in the clouds and still managed to complete a couple passes and give the public a great show.  After each performance the team was greeted by the command team of the Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) Major General Robert Ferrell and Command Sergeant Major Kennis Dent.  The Commander and Sergeant Major thanked the team for the wonderful job they did as well as presented the Gold team with a plaque showing their appreciation.

The link below is from the local news station and features SFC Dustin Peregrin describing what the Golden Knight are about and what kind of performance the team was going to put on.  It also gives a brief history of the camp and what it has turned into.

http://wnep.com/2012/06/21/rare-open-house-at-depot/#ooid=81MmI3NTpiRE5KiAbIhlVaCadBMjAD_r

 

Gold Team Visits Norfolk Nebraska for the 2012 Airfest

The Gold Demonstration traveled to Omaha Nebraska on Wednesday for the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College Work Series.  The team landed and went to survey the Ameritrade Park where the jump was to happen and received a positive weather forecast for the following day.  Unfortunately out of nowhere a few hours before the jump, a severe thunderstorm with winds up to 65 miles per hour rolled in and forced the ceremonies and the jump to be canceled.  After the storm passed the next morning the team headed out to Norfolk Nebraska for the local Airfest.

This is the first time the Gold Team has had multiple shows within one trip so the team still had an opportunity to perform for the public.  The Norfolk Airfest is not the biggest performance for the team but it was certainly one of the most inviting.  Upon arrival and after the in brief the team prepared for a jump that same day.  It was a demonstration for the sponsors of the Airfest followed by a social right afterwards.  The jump went just as planned and gave the locals in the small town of Norfolk a preview of what was to come over the next two days.  On Saturday, the first day of the Airfest, the Gold Team was scheduled for two jumps to open and close the Airfest.  The Golden Knights were one of the most advertised attractions so it was important to not let them down.  The winds were up but still within limits so the show went on without delay giving the crowd a bigger thrill than most of them had ever had before.

Sunday on the other hand was a different story as the winds rose above the jump limits before the show even began.  As early as 9 AM winds were as high as 25 miles per hour immediately putting the jump in question.  The Airfest Boss pushed back the jump a couple of hours to see if the winds would calm down and allow the other acts to fill the time gap.  The winds did manage to drop below the limits so the team took off but while circling the Airfest the winds rose up again this time between 25 to 35 miles per hour.  Even though the jump was cancelled the team wanted to show the people who the Golden Knights were so the pilots brought the plane in for some low altitude flybys.  After a few passes the team landed and stood by to close out the Airfest with a baton presentation to a local veteran and walk around to meet with the public.

Gold Team Never Quits

Blue skies and light winds are the ideal conditions for any skydive but Golden Knights do not always have those luxuries.  Even in the face of questionable weather their mission still remains the same, to bring the U.S. Army to the American public. This was the first year that the Golden Knights jumped into the 2012 Never Quit Challenge.  Since the event has a large Navy and Marine Corps influence the honor was previously held by the Navy’s Parachute Team the Leap Frogs.  This year was different though, the event coordinators wanted the best so they called upon the Golden Knights to get the crowd pumped and ready to go.

During the Never Quit Never Challenge held on the beach in Jacksonville Florida the Knights did just that, never quit.  With a tight landing area, grey skies and the winds almost at their limits the Gold Demonstration Team took on the challenge and performed remarkably for the over ten thousand spectators and competitors just before the 5K run on Saturday morning.  Some of the jumpers also dug down deep and took on the 5k run just after the jump.  Going into its fourth year the Never Quit Never Challenge started just a few hundred participants but has grown each year with now almost ten thousand. The mission of the Never Quit Challenge is “To educate the community on how to avoid Brain Bleeds, Stroke and Heart Disease through healthy life choices and encourage everyone to take on a Never Quit attitude and live life to its fullest.”  This event was inspired by Captain Gerard Petroni of the U.S. Navy who suffered a stroke and brain bleed in November 2006, but through the support of his family and local community Gerard was able to live on for another three years until his passing in 2009.

Also while in Jacksonville the team was invited to attend a presentation from Nick Vujicic a man who was born with no arm and no legs who overcame his disabilities to become a world traveling evangelist. Nick Vujicic is also the president and CEO of a non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.  Since his first speaking engagement back when he was 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people, speaking to a range of different groups such as students, teachers, youth, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and church congregations of all sizes.  He has also told his story and been interviewed on various televised programs worldwide.  Nick was also a main speaker who opened the Never Quit Challenge earlier in the morning boosting the competitor’s spirits just before the events.

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