The Golden Knights were invited back to Marshall University in Huntington West Virginia to perform at the homecoming game. However the winds in rare form at the stadium were over 30 miles per hour. Unfortunately the team was not able to jump just moments before the kick off at 3:05 p.m. against Rice University. The winds didn’t get the best of our team though. It was beautiful sight at 2,500 feet looking down on the Ohio River and trees changing colors. The winds were not only a tricky part for the jumpers to land; our pilots CW4 Jason Davis, Mr. Dave Clay, and Crew Chief SGT Jusseppe Silvagnoli had their work cut out for them. Even with a tricky crosswind we jumpers in the back couldn’t believe the most impressive and smooth landing ever. Our lives are every day in the hands of our “Team 6″ brothers.
After we landed back at Huntington Tri-State Airport the entire team returned to Joan C. Edwards stadium where we linked back up with our ground crew. SGT George Perez of Caguas Puerto Rico and SSG Jen Espinosa of Thousand Oaks, California. The ground crew has the daunting task of relaying at sometimes unfortunate information as the winds being too high for safe jump operations. However without our amazing ground crew we would never be able to perform so many demonstrations before millions of spectators each year. We then presented a token of friendship to Athletic Director Mr. Scott Morehouse. Scott was our secondary POC and made everything possible for the team to have a smooth and easy transition for our jump operations.
Although we were not able to jump into the game the team still had a positive effect on the community. We were able to reach out and speak to many of the recruits that took their oath of enlistment with many of them shipping out for basic training early this week. Even the Thundering Herd managed a victory in the late 4th quarter of 24-20.
Sunday October 9, 2011 marked the Army’s 27th annual 10 Mile Race. This year’s events were sponsored by KBR and AUSA and it was an event to be remembered. In just 35 hours the event was sold out to a total of 30,000 competitors, enthusiast’s, and families. The Golden Knight’s were invited back to start the race with an early morning jump of 7:15a.m. over our nations capital and the pentagon for a wonderful free fall background.
The race it self began in 1985 with a mission to promote the Army, build espirit de corps, support fitness goals and enhance community relations. This years proceeds will be going to the Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers and their families.
Just after landing from over 5,000 feet off the ground 3 members of Gold Team; SPC Jesse Stahler, SGT Tom Pryjda and SSG Tom Melton quickly changed from their jump uniforms into their race clothes. All 3 of them ran the entire race with smiles on their face at the finish line. Congratulations to them and the 30,000 contestants of this year’s race!
Gold Team arrived Thursday afternoon with their sights on a special weekend. They would be conducting joint operation Military Free-Fall (HALO) jumps with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and take part in celebrating their 50th reunion. Friday morning Gold team started the day with meeting the halo teams from 5th SFG (A). With an entire day scheduled of training jumps, the Team members paired off with solo HALO jumpers and provided coaching as well as video and still picture assistance. Traveling with Gold Team, 8-way competitors also brought their experience to the table and delivered some great coaching for the HALO teams of 5th group. After a full day of training with the HALO teams, Gold Team walked away with a few new friends and memories they won’t soon forget.
The next afternoon was the jump into the ceremony, while the day started with mission preparations to ensure smooth operations. Every demonstrator that evening wanted to perform their best to give their new friends, 5thSFG (A), a wonderful and exciting reunion. A tight landing area and a large number of spectators surrounding the area made it an incredible show. The crowd was literally part of the show which made Gold Team even more part of the celebrations.
The night unfortunately came to an end with the saying of Goodbyes and lots of handshakes. The members of Gold Team and other Golden Knight friends all had a great weekend and felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. To take part in a group of elite soldiers celebrating the victories they’ve had for the past 50 years was an esteemed honor. The weekend had been fulfilling and the brothers we’ve made will last a lifetime.