International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is currently underway for the 2012 show season, and elements of the Team are here representing our organization along with the other two DoD sanctioned demonstration teams, the Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunder Birds. This venue is put on annually for air show organizers and performers to get together and lock in their schedules for the upcoming show season. (more…)
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.
The Morning news will never be the same. The new found excitement and enthusiasm of Producer/Reporter Claire Hossmann for Wilmington, North Carolina’s WECT channel 6 is not out of the ordinary. Wednesday, September 14th Claire and her cameraman journeyed to Maxton- Laurinburg Airport to the team training center for an opportunity of a lifetime doing a tandem parachute jump with the US Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights.
Claire said, “I have dreamed about jumping out of an airplane all my life and the Golden Knights are making my lifelong dream come true. I wanted to do a story about the US Army Parachute Team Competition Teams winning the Overall country and World Championships. They are the best in the world and people need to know that they are right here at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and have not received the recognition they deserve.”
SGT Jared Zell took Claire into the classroom and showed her the tandem waiver and conducted a detailed class about the jump she was preparing to take. Zell then took her into the hanger to put on her snug black and gold freefall jumpsuit, gloves, goggles, helmet and harness preparing her to be properly dressed for the occasion.
She nervously pulled her hair back into a tight ponytail and kept ringing her hands as SGT Jon Ewald, her videographer walked behind her highlighting her video with the bright orange Dangersign on the back of the harness which she was totally unaware of. He briefly interviewed her asking her what she was getting ready to do and asked her if she was ready. Claire said, “Yes I am, but the video waiver kept saying die, die, you may die, I know I’m not. I know I am in safe hands but it kept saying die, Die, die!!!” and she loudly laughted,”HA, Ha HA!!!!”
The Golden Knight 8-way Team, lead by SFC Brian Krause did several dirt dives and went over to the mock airplane door to practice their exit for Claire’s jump. She tightly clutched her hands together as she watched ever little detail of the maneuver and looked carefully at each individuals face as they exited the door. Everyone lined up with Claire standing in front of SGT Zell simulating the arrowhead formation they were planning to bring together around her for the actual jump. They all then headed out to the teams Twin Otter for that climb two and a half miles above the earth.
Pilots Dave Clay and Frank Reiner flew to about 6,000 feet and the Golden Knight Female 4-way Team (GKF4) exited the plane training for their next meet. The plane then climbed to 12,500 feet for the tandem jump. Claire was bright eyed and seemed to have a gleaming smile as they stood at the door. SGT Zell began rocking back and forth and instantaneously they leapt from the edge of the door into the magnificent fall blue sky at a speed way over the single parachutist speed of a 120mph- terminal velocity.
“The 8-way team magically appeared all around me. I didn’t even see them up there till the cameraman pointed
to them on either side of me,” said Claire. SGT Andrew Starr and SGT Jon Ewald simultaneously circled around the tandem pair and 8-way team and photographed and videoed the unique tandem arrowhead formation.
All of a sudden the GKF4 came whisking by the cameraman on the ground much to his surprise. Then you could hear the distinct flutters of the 8-way team canopies as they swooped by one by one. SGT Zell and Claire gentle came gliding into the drop zone and touched gentle down on the ground below.
Claire began jumping up and down saying that it was fantastic, and how she loved it. Each member of the team came up gave her hugs and high five’s congratulating her on her first jump. She was so excited that she just couldn’t stop talking, but admitted that she did feel a bit sick. Claire said, “That was the most wonderful thing I ever did, but I had to tell Jared to stop spinning me because I felt a little motion sickness, but I do that on Ferris wheels too!”
Claire went into the hangar had a bottle of water and conducted interviews like a real trooper with 8-way Team leader SFC Brian Krause, SFC Matt Davidson an SGT Laura Dickmeyer to conclude the information for her story about the US Army Parachute Team, which should be aired on WECT in a week or two.