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.

Yankees vs Cincinnati game swooped by Golden Knights for Military Appreciation Day

 

 

The Gold Demonstration Team Led By SFC Dustin Peregrin

The Gold Demonstration Team Led By SFC Dustin Peregrin

The Gold Demonstration Team had the amazing opportunity to participate in the New York Yankees Military Appreciation Day. The Yankees paid tribute to the Special Operation Warrior Foundation and United States Armed Forces. During the ceremony, four fallen Soldiers were honored and their children were brought onto the field and presented with scholarship checks for the Special Operation Warrior Foundation.

One of the four fallen Soldiers honored was a former Golden Knight, Gold Team member SFC Pedro Munoz, who was the first U.S. combat death in Afghanistan January 1, 2005. Munoz daughter, Dalia along with the other three Soldiers children were introduced to the individual team members by SFC Dustin Peregrin, Gold Team leader. Dalia was presented a baton by SSG David Echevery and SFC Tom Melton, SSG Mike Koch and SSG Brian Karst presented batons to the family members that had been actually flown in freefall to the stadium by the Soldiers for the presentation.

SSG David Echeverry presenting baton flown in free fall to fallen Gold Team Soldier, SFC Pedro Munoz daughter Dahlia

SSG David Echeverry presenting baton flown in free fall to fallen Gold Team Soldier, SFC Pedro Munoz daughter Dahlia

Starting the game off, Gold Team’s SFC Adrian Hill jumped in an enormous POW flag and narrated the rest of his team as they jumped from 4,500 feet. SSG Brandan Parra flew in the game ball for the ceremonial first pitch, thrown by retired Air Force Colonel John Carney and also flew in the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) flag. The team jumped several more flags to include the New York State flag,Puerto Rico flag, in honor of SFC Munoz, and SSG Sherri Gallagher jumped in a Derek Jeter #2 Yankees flag. The Jeter flag was flown in honor of his up and coming retirement, as this is his final season with the New York Yankees after 20 years, 14 All-Star appearances and 5 World Championships.

Once all the jumpers were safely on the ground, the National Anthem was played. Country music singer and U.S. Army Ranger, Keni Thomas sang the Anthem. Keni Thomas served as a member of Task Force Ranger as a part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and also served in the Battle of Mogadishu.  The New York Yankees were brought good luck by the Knights’ and  now have their first all-time regular season series sweep of Cincinnati. They were victorious playing their final game of a three-game series vs. Cincinnati in the Yankees final Interleague games of the season.

The Golden Knights were honored to participate in Military Appreciation Day, as we recognize the sacrifice made by those before us. To those that have served, are currently serving, and to the families of these brave men and women, we proudly salute you.

SSG Gallagher,  Photos by SSG Reese Pendelton and Donna Dixon

 

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