Jumping into Football Games at Belle Vernon High School and the University of Pennsylvania

IMG_8way9335webGold Team spent the weekend in the great state of Pennsylvania where they were able to perform for Bell Vernon High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The team worked with local recruiters, as well as the schools academic professionals, to carry out two great shows. Before the game began on Friday, a few members of the Gold Demonstration Team linked up with the recruiters at Bell Vernon to give the High School students a little taste of what it is like to be in the Army. The team spent a few hours answering questions about Army life and what it takes to serve this great Country.

On Friday evening, the team departed for the airfield in preparation for the jump into the High School. Bell Vernon brought the Golden Knights in to start off their football game for the evening. The team performed a mass and followed up the show by tandem jumping Mrs. Shara Zupanc, one of the teachers at the school, with Tandem instructor SFC Joe Jones. The students loved the show.

Saturday proved just as eventful, as the weather brought in low clouds and rain. The team had the privilege of jumping into Indiana University of Pennsylvania to start off their football game. Due to the low clouds, the team performed a stack-out maneuver. This is when all the members of the team jump from alternating doors with a 3-5 second pause between jumpers, until the whole team exits the plane. The black and gold canopies stood out very bright against the dark rain clouds. The show turned out perfect despite the weather. Upon landing, the jumpers met up with the local recruiters and packed their parachutes.

This weekend was spent with some of Pennsylvania’s greatest students and athletes. We wish both teams the best of luck in this football season!! Until next time, blue skies!

Thunder Over Santa Maria

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Fans waiting to get GK Autographs

Last weekend our team traveled to the west coast and arrived in Santa Maria, CA for the 26th Annual Thunder Over the Valley Air Show. The Santa Maria community spent the past nine years requesting the presence of the US Army Golden Knights for their air show lineup.

We performed four shows above the Santa Maria Public Airport including two full shows, one mass formation and a stack out (low show performance) due to low visibility. The air show sponsors as well as the local community welcomed us by hosting three socials throughout the weekend located at the Santa Maria Museum of Flight. We all had the opportunity to meet with the air show sponsors, other air show performers, and local community officials to include Mayor Alice Patino.

The community of Santa Maria is very supportive of our Military as we were presented with the Patriot Freedom Key, which we will proudly hang in our team room. We had the honor of meeting a very special guest during our last social, a 92-year-old Santa Maria woman, Lieutenant Marian Marrinan USAAF (United States Army Airforce), who proudly represented our Nation during World War II as a nurse and spoke of her experiences during the first week of Normandy. 1LT Marrinan had an opportunity to meet the team during the social and then proudly stood close to show center during the teams last performance for the weekend, which included a baton pass, diamond track, and mass formation.

We were then individually introduced by our narrator SPC Luke Olk in front of approximately eight thousand spectators who were anxiously waiting for us to make our way to the Army Strong stage for a meet and greet.

The signature of our performances will continue to be the ability we have to interact with the American Public, they assist us with repacking our parachutes, sharing our Army stories, and signing autographs.

This was our last show with the highly motivated Army Strong stage crew (staffed by the Army Marketing and Research Group) and we hope we have the opportunity to reach out to the American public with them during future air shows and demonstrations. The Army Strong stage has become a hit with their music selection, high energy, and local recruiters assisting in connecting today’s Army with the American public. These lasting impressions may one day inspire a young man or woman to become the next US Army Golden Knight! Black team will be performing in Cleveland, Ohio this Labor Day weekend.

Blue Skies!   SDG Bixler, Photos by Jerry Morrison

 

World Champion Golden Knight’s 8-Way Team

8wayCZech_Web0063It was a chilly Monday morning at the 2014 World Parachuting Championships in the Czech Republic. The 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team has completed their eighth and final practice jump out of the L-410 Turbolet aircraft. The L-410 is extremely different than the UV-18 Twin Otter aircraft that the Golden Knights primarily train from. The turbojet door is narrower and taller than the Golden Knights Twin Otter’s door. It’s also harder for us to maintain our grips on one another in the door and the exits don’t come off as clean as exits from the Otter. But after several practice jumps we feel confident enough moving forward. Tonight is the opening ceremonies and the draw. The official competition starts first thing Tuesday morning. The weather forecast is not looking very promising for the next couple of days. They are calling for a high chance of rain but all the teams are staying optimistic and hoping for favorable weather conditions.

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