Golden Knights Return to Chicago Air & Water Show

Back to the Windy City

Back to the Windy City

 

This past weekend the Gold Demonstration Team participated in the Chicago Air and Water show. The practice jump went off without a hitch on Friday with SSG Jon Clevenger doing a joint three stack with All Veterans Group and the Leap Frogs with a drop flag and then narrating the rest of the team and the Leap Frogs conducting a joint mass formation.

Saturday morning SPC Daniel Osorio did another three stack with the Leap Frogs and the All Veterans Group and narrated both the Leap Frogs and the Gold Team doing two separate stack outs with Canopy Relative Work from 2500 feet. SSG Mike Koch narrated the team doing a stack out and canopy relative work passes from 3200 feet. Graham Hoeksta, a six and a half year old cancer survivor, was presented with a baton. That evening the team was able to take part in a social for all the air show personnel at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta with a tour through the city of Chicago on a double decker bus.

Unfortunately, due to weather, the team was not able to conduct any shows on Sunday, but was able to meet many of the other performers along with their family and friends on the airfield in Gary, Indiana. Giving them tours of the plane and answering many questions.

SFC Brian Karst, Photos by, SGT Martin,SFC Hill & Donna Dixon

The 56th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show Swooped by Golden Knights

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North Lake Shore Drive was literally overshadowed as the U.S. Army Parachute Team’s, Golden Knights’ Black and Gold Parachutes, multiple military and vintage planes roared and zipped through the blue skies this past weekend for the 56th annual Chicago Air and Water Show.Over a million spectators hustled along the crowded shores to the lakefront from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street. The “Boat House” on North Avenue Beach served as the show’s center each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Gold Demonstration Team led by SFC Dustin Peregrin gave a phenomenal performance for the crowd on Friday and Saturday, but poor weather postponed and eventually canceled the second day.

SPC Dan Osorio jumped in first and then narrated the show beginning with a first time ever joint formation with the Golden Knights, All Veteran Parachute Team and Navy Leap Frogs as they skillfully maneuvered a beautifully formed 3-stack formation.

Members of the AVPT flew in to the “Windy City” with five jumpers donning different parachutes, a variety of flags and ended with and enormous American flag.

Immediately following the AVPT demo, members of the Navy Leap Frog’s and the Golden Knights gracefully flew from far corners of the earth into a magnificent smoke circled mass formation circling high over the great City of Chicago.

The parachuting montage of demonstration scenes subsided with a grand finale with SFC Joe Jones, CSM Thomas Holland and videographer SFC Brian Sealing sweeping across the scenic lake shore with a tandem parachute jump.

Following the jump the team members were introduced to the crowd and did a statuesque team line up as Mr. Ken Breeden and CW4 Ed Schemper the team pilots, picturesquely did a fly-by in the teams exquisite C31 Friendship Fokker.

SFC Peregrin escorted and introduced “Make a Wish” recipient 6-year old Graham Hoekstra to the Team and SGT Blake Gaynor presented Graham with a baton that was passed in mid-air during their demonstration.

Due to inclement weather Sunday was delayed and eventually cancelled, but the Knights’ on the ground carried the show on. Sunday morning at Chicago’s Air and Water show, the Blackhawks’ own Professional Opera Singer, Jim Cornelison got iced by members of the Golden Knights Command, Air Force Heritage Flight pilots, All Veteran Parachute Team and Navy Leap Frogs.

Governor Pat Quinn also took the challenge and even Chicago’s very own Lourdes Duarte stepped up accepting the country’s latest viral craze, which supports a bigger cause; raising awareness and money to fight Lou Gerhig’s Disease, ALS. Those who refuse take the challenge are asked to donate money to help fight ALS.

SFC Derrick Coleman along with the Golden Knights’ Commander, LTC Matthew Weinrich and CSM TJ Holland presented the day’s baton to Chicago Public Schools student and JROTC Cadet, SGM Malik Baker.  Malik took a flight with legendary pilot, Sean D. Tucker on Thursday, August 14 as part of the Young Eagles aviation program and the 56th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show.

Chicagoans all over the beach said they were excited this year about the return of military headliners —the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team — after their absence last year because of sequestration due to federal budget cuts.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “The Chicago Air and Water Show is always a summertime favorite providing exciting family entertainment in the skies above Lake Michigan,” “For more than half a century, this event has grown into a spectacular display of aviation’s finest in a unique setting making it a wonderful destination for residents and visitors alike.”

 

 

Thunder Over Utah

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The Gold Demonstration Team has had a busy weekend in the beautiful state of Utah. The team traveled to Saint George for the Thunder Over Utah Air Show. The unpredictable weather made it a little tricky for the jumpers and pilots participating in the show. Sadly, the team was unable to perform on Friday due to extremely high winds. This made the crowd even more eager for Saturday. Saturday morning started off beautifully with hardly any wind. The narrator made the first jump of the day, flying in the American Flag to the National Anthem. The crowd was very excited and the enthusiasm carried throughout the entire show.

Gold Team performed a full show, ending the performance with a mass, as the remaining jumpers built a formation in the sky. By the time the last jumpers exited the aircraft, the winds were howling. This made the jump a little tricky, but with the encouragement of the audience, all the jumpers made it safely to the ground in beautiful Golden Knight fashion. After the show was over, the team acquired some amazing kids to help pack up their parachutes for the next days jump.

Sunday also proved to be an outstanding day for jumping. Specialist Daniel Osorio got the show started for the afternoon by flying in the American Flag. He then made his way to Rob Reider, Airshow host extraordinaire, where he narrated his entire team performing a Mass maneuver. This was not just any mass, however, once the initial formation was built in the sky, the team went on to perform the Golden Knight Bomb Burst, a planned Cut-Away, and also linked up two parachutes in the sky for Canopy Relative Work. It was an exciting jump, as there was so much going on. The team performed flawlessly and the crowd once again gave each of the jumpers a warm reception upon landing.

The Knights also had the privilege of jumping two tandem passengers at the Airshow. SFC Joe Abeln and SSG Jon Lopez from the Tandem Team accompanied Gold Team as they jumped from 11, 500 feet to give these great passengers a ride of a lifetime.

Thunder Over Utah is a fun show with a great gathering of spectators and outstanding line up of performers. The team is looking forward to coming back to this beautiful state. Until then, Blue Skies!
SSG Gallagher, photos by SSG Trey Martin.

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