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.
The United States Army Parachute Team has been wowing the crowds of airshow in the United States and abroad for more than fifty years. This year the Gold Demonstration team was honored in becoming Ambassadors of Freedom to the Sanicole Belgium Airshow. The airshow took place over this past weekend during difficult weather conditions. The Team was able to perform 3 demonstration jumps over the gorgeous landscape over Belgium.
The first jump was our honor to jump in Belgium’s National Flag during our night performance. Just before the rain and clouds moved the Team was able to jump out at 4000 feet off the ground into the pitch black of night. The Team then lit up the dark night sky with our Pyro show.
On Saturday Gold Team was honored in having a guided tour of Brussels the capital of Belgium. The tour lasted approximately 6 hours and included a trip to Waterloo that was an impressive sight to see.
Our last day in Belgium was on Sunday where the Team performed two more jumps. A large portion of the jumps displayed our Canopy Relative Work before the crowds over Sanicole. After landing the Team proceeded to show center where we packed parachutes, answered questions and signed brochures.
It was an amazing opportunity for the Golden Knights to be a part of this international experience. The experience was by far a highlight for the year for many of the teammates. We would like to the thank the people of Sanicole Belgium for inviting us to perform on their 35th anniversary it was an honor and great memories for a lifetime.