Justin Brayton, Muscle Milk/Toyota JGRMX Team Rider took a Really Quick Ride Today from 12,500 Feet

Justin Brayton took an exhilarating new ride today with the United States Army Parachute Team Golden Knights Tandem Section at the Wide Open MX Park in Raeford, North Carolina.

Prior to the jump, SSG Joe Abeln conducted a tandem class for Justin and Heath at the teams drop zone at Laurinburg-Maxton Airport, in Laurinburg, NC.Following the official training, changing into the black and gold Golden Knight jumpsuit, fitting of helment, gloves, goggles, harness and practice jump from the mock airplane door in the hangar they were ready to go.

SSG Abeln, Justin, and SFC Brian Krause, 8-Way Team leader and photographer along with SFC Kurt Isenbarger Heath Rowe’s tandem master and SFC Larry Miller, photographer headed out to the teams UV-18 “Twin Otter.”  

The Otter circled over the MX Park as the crowd gathered around below peering above to catch a glimpse of the plane. The wind streamers came falling from the sky and kids jumped up and down shouting “There they are!”Darin Grim, former Golden Knight went over and talked with them and explained what they were seeing and what to look for as the plane flew to altitude.

Inside the plane, SSG Abeln asked Justin how he felt and he said, “I can’t wait” and SSG Abeln said, “We are climbing to 12,500 feet and we’re going to be going 120 mph, I think that is a little faster than you can go on a dirt bike.”SFC Miller asked Heath how he was feeling and he said,” I’m really excited, I’ve got my man Kurt here and I want to do some free style.”

 The skies were a brilliant blue with huge white puffy clouds and the silhouette of the plane had disappeared from view. SSG Sean Sweeney who was pulling ground called up the wind readings to the pilots and gave them a “hot target” call, which let them know it was okay to proceed with the jump operation. Everyone was gazing up in to the sky and SFC Matt Davidson came swooping in to the landing area as everyone cheered.

A moment later you could hear shouts and hollers from high above Justin was waving to all below and SSG Abeln brought Justin in for a great stand up landing. Justin began to high five those around him and said, “That was so fun, it’s ridiculous, it’s so sic, let’s do it again!”

Following Heath’s landing they greeted each other bumping knuckles and Heath said, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done, that was rad!”



Golden Knights “Knight” the 2010 Assessment and Selection Grauduates

USAPT Cadre and Graduating Class 0f 2010

This was a very special day to the US Army Parachute Team. Today current members of the Team, alumni, family and friends gathered to celebrate the completion of their annual Assessment and Selection Program. Former Golden Knight Darrin Grim narrated for the event stating that, “Knighting ceremonies dates back to medieval times, when a squire had proven his worth over several years and the king saw it fit, that the squire would be knighted.” The king would raise the sword before him and touch each shoulder and the squire had the distinct honor of becoming a knight ready to take his place among his peers.

LTC Martin "knights" SSG Adrian Hill and SGM Young presents him a team coin

Today our newly “Knighted” candidates jumped into Raeford drop zone. They have been preparing for this day for over 8 weeks and today was the grand finale. They did a lineup in front of their audience and the Commander, LTC Joe Martin knighted each of them as they knelt before him. SGM Stephen Young congratulated each gallant new knight and presented them with the team coin, which they will carry with them forever…..

Excitement builds within the crowd of well wishers as the team performs a bomburst manuever

Check back with us tomorrow as the story continues…..

Candidates Graduate US Army Parachute Team Golden Knights 2010 Assessment and Selection Program at Raeford Drop Zone

Members of this year’s Assessment and Selection program run to the teams Twin Otter . Throughout the program they run everywhere. (Photo by: Donna Dixon)

The U.S. Army Parachute Team the Golden Knights’2010 Assessment and Selection program will be conducting the annual Graduation program on Tuesday, November 2 at Raeford drop zone.  The program began with 16 and ended with 9 Soldiers who endured the  8 weeks of intense training vying for a position on the elite team. They have truly earned the right to wear the prestigious black and gold uniform—representing the Army’s Official Ambassadors.

: Candidates learn to remove spoons from cans to prepare for next jump. Army Parachute Team demonstrators where red smoke grenades on a bracket strapped to their foot to enhance the visual effects for jumps at air shows and events. (Photo by: Donna Dixon)

To be selected to the team, an individual must be on active duty status, have completed 150 free fall parachute jumps and have a good military and civilian record. Individuals submit their packets for selection, a process that includes a rigorous six-week assessment and selection program of training. Members that successfully completed the six-week training program were knighted today in a special ceremony as an official member of the Golden Knights.

Class of 2009: graduates and cadre of the 2009 Assessment and Selection Program (Photo by: Sean Capogreco)

Class of 2008: One of the larger classes to graduate in recent years. Historical class graduating 5 females. (Photo by: Donna Dixon)

Class of 2007: SFC Jeff Shafer lead 2007 tryouts program. (Photo by: Sean Capogreco)

Class of 2006: LTC Dave Standridge greets cadre and new team members to knight them.

Class of 2005: Candidates of the 2005 program


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