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


SFC Scott McGee Promoted to MSG

LTC Martin presents MSG McGee his certificate of promotion as his wife, SSG McGee watches

Sergeant 1st Class Scott McGee was promoted to Master Sergeant today in a promotion ceremony at the team Headquarters. His wife, Staff Sergeant McGee pinned the rank on her husband and team commander Lieutenant Colonel Joe Martin promoted MSG McGee. (more…)

Media Training with Assessment and Selection Candidates

SSG Adrian Hill practicing his narration

During the annual Assessment and Selection Program the candidates go through a multitude of training aspects to hone their skills.  Media training is a vital part of their integration into the public eye. Members of the team travel to numerous locations greeting the American Public and are required to conduct interviews with radio and television media every weekend.

It is my job to see that each of these candidates are prepared and feel confident and comfortable speaking with these mediums. It begins with the very first day they arrive at the team and are processed for the program. As they process into the unit Sean Capogreco took individual photographs and Mike Battise had them do a brief standup interview telling us a bit about who they are. I gave each of them a list of “Key Messages” that they can study for upcoming interviews and it gives them something to fall back on during interviews with the media. We don’t want to scare them off or intimidate them, but we need to get a baseline on their experience with media interviews to show us where we need to work with each individual. We compile a DVD of each candidate’s interview process to be critiqued and to assist them with areas they are finding difficultly with. Looking at yourself on video is one of the greatest training aids available to teach you about yourself. It shows them if they are rolling their eyes, stuttering, swaying back and forth or adding a lot of uhms and ands.

Later during the week ,we  took them outside in front of the team Headquarters facility to conduct a more in-depth screening and have them give us a bit of a biography on themselves. The majority of them seemed to feel a little more at ease, but a few seem to struggle when the camera was turned on. It’s funny how something as small as a camera intimidates them so much more than falling out of an airplane at 120mph.

Last week we hit them with the real live media crews. Linda, Earl and Eric came down from the Pentagon Channel to do interviews with the candidates for an upcoming segment about “New Guys.” So they were put to the test to use the tips, suggestions and skills we armed them with to face the TV. Overall they really did quite well and I was very proud of them.

This week I gave them all pocket media cards with the several Golden Rule’s when dealing with the media, number 1 being, “Everything is ALWAYS on the record!” It also gave them new key messages and the Communications Wheel to remind them how to bridge their answers back to the key messages into their spots. Mike had set up bright lights and we miked them for their first mock sit down television interview.  It is a great feeling to see how they are progressing and I’m sure they will almost be pros by time they reach graduation day.

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