Knights Open Six Hours at the Glen

Gold Team View of the Glen

Gold Team View of the Glen

The Gold Demonstration Team spent the weekend in the beautiful state of New York. The team had the honor of jumping into Watkins Glen International where they led off the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen event. This was the fifth annual Military and Veterans Appreciation event that was held in conjunction with the races. After a successful jump onto the race track, the Golden Knights met with many Veterans and families at a recruiting booth set up next to the track.

Gold Team’s, SGT Blake Gaynor, jumped in the American flag and proceeded to narrate the rest of the show, as his teammates jumped from 12,500 feet to perform a large formation in the sky with their smokes trails blazing. After the initial formation was built, the outside jumpers performed the bomb burst maneuver, while the inside of the formation linked arms to form barber poles in the sky with their smoke trails. Team Leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin, and teammate, SFC Brian Karst, ended the show by flying a beautiful bi-plane right into the landing area. As soon as the last jumper had their boots on the ground, the booming voice of “Start Your Engines” was heard and the racers took off.

Mrs. Dawn Smith from the Oddessa American Legion was paramount to the success of the entire Military Appreciation event. The Golden Knights are grateful for her efforts and are proud to have the chance to work with such an amazing and professional organization. Until next time, Blue Skies!!

Sgt Sherri Gallagher, Photos by Sgt Trey Martin

SGT Blake Gaynor Salutes while exiting the team C-31 Fokker

SGT Blake Gaynor Salutes while exiting the team C-31 Fokker

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Gold Team At Glen Watkins

Gold Team At Glen Watkins

 

SFC Dustin Peregrin Team Leader and Golde Demonstration Team signing autographs

SFC Dustin Peregrin Team Leader and Golde Demonstration Team signing autographs

 

 

Exclusive View of Tandem COI at Ft. Knox Tandem Camp

 

Robert Moore, Director of Adult Education and Principal of the Bloomington Graduation School for Monroe County Schools at Broadview Learning Center with SFC Jared Zell

Robert Moore, Director of Adult Education and Principal of the Bloomington Graduation School for Monroe County Schools at Broadview Learning Center with his tandem instructor, SFC Jared Zell

Numerous individuals frequently ask the question about the Tandem Orientation Program which the Team began over sixteen years ago, as an unified approach and tool to boost, engage and generate target audiences and an attempt to reach out and connect with the American Public.  How and Why certain Centers Of Infuences (COI’s)are selected or invited to conduct tandem parachute jumps with members of the US Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights Tandem Team?

The Recruiting Brigades work very closely with hundreds of principals, coaches, counselors and influencers at high schools and colleges that are enormous positive contributors to the lives of our future generations. Statistics have proven that partnering with the select right individuals who particpated in these tandem camps and the Army Strong Experience have lead to actionable insights to the recruiting mission.

I would like to elevate this measurable information by sharing a story of a gentleman that was one of our passengers that actually put his life in the hands of our wonderful Soldiers for the experience of his life.

Moore Takes a Flying Leap

 Monroe County school administrator learns a lesson to share on post-secondary career training

 “It was the most calm, peaceful, serene experience I can remember having, “said Robert Moore, Monroe County Schools’ Director of Adult Education and Principal of the Bloomington Graduation School. He was not speaking of an evening on the beach watching the sun set into the ocean during his 2014 summer vacation. Rather, he was describing a skydive he made from 15,000 feet.

Moore, along with 24 other educators from six states, was selected to attend a two-day tour of Fort Knox on June 11 and 12 to learn about the post-secondary career training options in the US Army that are available to young adults. The tour included a tandem jump with the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. He was invited by the Bloomington Recruiting Center to participate in the visit hosted by the Army’s 3rd Recruiting Brigade, which is headquartered at Fort Knox.

“I amazed at the wide range of careers a person can train for,” Moore recalled. “I met soldiers who were mechanics, musicians, paralegals, linguists, marksmen, performers, a chaplain’s assistant, and on and on. Basically, if you have an interest and there is a job available, you can train for it in the Army.”

On the morning Day 1, Moore and the other educators witnessed ROTC cadets from several universities around the country engage in various qualification tests in the swimming pool and the obstacle course. In the afternoon, the educators were taken to the French Shooting Club, an outdoor range on base, where two members of the US Army Marksmanship Team demonstrated some trick skeet shooting they do for competition. “Then they let us try it. The instructor gave me some great directions on the shotgun, and I hit my first skeet target dead on,” he recounted. After the demonstration, the group traveled to an indoor facility, where a simulated pistol range is used by various law enforcement agencies and military personnel for practice and qualification on stationary targets. “I hit it 8 out of 10 times,” Moore boasted.

Later that day, the educators met with the 3rd Brigade’s Education Services Specialist and a panel of soldiers for a Q&A session. “They all stressed the importance of education and training in whatever field they are pursuing,” Moore said. “Pretty much, a soldier must pursue a civilian college education in order to advance in his or her career. Many of the soldiers we met held bachelors and masters degrees. And the fact that the Army pays for this education makes it possible for them to do so.”

Day 2 was jump day with the Golden Knights. That morning, after a strongly-advised light breakfast, the educator group gathered at the brigade headquarters for a bus ride to Fort Knox’s airfield. There, an instructor from the Golden Knights briefed the visitors on how they would be dressed in the regulation equipment, how the exit and landing will occur, and the risks associated with the skydive. “Then they took us up in the plane three at a time, each with an instructor and a videographer. It turned out to be a long wait for me, because I was the second-to-last group to go,” Moore reported. So, skipping the lunch provided, Moore waited patiently.

“Around 2:30, a member of the Golden Knights Tandem Team came to the room where we were waiting and called my name,” Moore said. He led Moore to another room and helped him don the gold and black jumpsuit, a harness, and helmet and goggles. He also introduced another member of the team who would serve as the tandem’s videographer.

The three climbed into the plane with two other tandems and videographers and began the ascent to 15,000 feet. As the plane drew near to the desired altitude, the instructor hooked his harness to Moore’s and tightened the straps. “And I mean it was TIGHT! He was on my back, I was on his front, and we were pressed together like we were one body,” recounted Moore.   Still in their seats, they practiced several times how they would eventually exit the aircraft. “I’ll tell you, from then on I never felt safer. Sitting there strapped to the front of that Golden Knight made me feel very secure, like I could do anything.”

Then the time came. Moore and his Golden Knight instructor tied tightly to his back duck walked to the door of the plane. With the videographer already hanging outside the door, the tandem leaped forward and began a 120 mile-per-hour free-fall toward Earth.

“It actually felt like I was flying, not falling. It was amazing. I felt like Superman,” Moore remembered.   “There was no roller-coaster feeling at all like I thought there might be. Just a strong wind in my face, and all I heard was a loud roar.” The videographer—with camera mounted to his helmet—passed below, above, and to the side of the tandem in flight. “How he did that, I don’t know. He was all over the place.”

After the 45-second free-fall, when the tandem had descended to 5,000 feet, Moore felt a strong tug upward and the videographer vanished. He looked up and saw the strings of the parachute, which had just deployed. “And suddenly the loud roar of the wind gave way to a great silence. It was the quietest quiet I ever heard. We were just floating there at the end of the parachute. My instructor asked, ‘so how are you doing, sir?’ I responded, ‘Well, I didn’t eat any lunch, and I’m kind of hungry. Did you bring anything to eat?’ We just talked to each other in a normal tone of voice. We didn’t have to shout to be heard.”

The tandem continued their descent. “I asked the Golden Knight how fast we were now going now. He said we were going about 25 miles per hour forward speed and about 20 miles per hour downward. So the parachute really slowed us down. But again, it felt like we were just floating, not falling. The earth was very slowly rising to me; I was not falling to it. All the while, the sight was spectacular: a complete, unobstructed, panoramic view of sky, sun, clouds, horizon, and earth all in one glance.” The instructor pointed out the top of the Federal Gold Depository building and the field where they would eventually land.

Then Moore learned what performance parachuting was all about. The instructor said, “OK, now I’ll show you what this thing can do.” The tandem did a spin and dive maneuver to the right and another to the left. “Now that was definitely a roller-coaster feeling. That’s for sure!” Then they returned to their peaceful, downward descent.

As the objects on Earth grew larger and larger, it was time to prepare for the landing on Brooks Field. As instructed, Moore pulled his knees up and pointed his legs straight outward. The tandem approached the field, and the instructor’s feet made a gentle touchdown on the turf. The 7-minute flight was over. After unhooking from one another, instructor and student rose from the ground for more pictures and an interview by the videographer who awaited them.

“It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Moore said of the two-day visit. “If I learned anything, it was that the Army really stresses education, training, and safety above all. They really take care of their people. Their standards for training and safety are so high; they really do minimize danger far more than we do in the civilian world. And the education benefits—you just can’t beat them. Soldiers told us, ‘I didn’t pay a dime for my college degree.’ If parents and students are really serious about exploring all options for funding a college education, they do themselves a favor by at least exploring that with a military recruiter in addition the college recruiters. I mean, with so many college students graduating with such enormous debt from loans and no job prospects in the fields they were trained for, you ought to get ALL the options out on the table and pick the best one.”

Moore added, “They showed us that young adults don’t even have to make military service their whole career. Even for a short time commitment, they can get a college education, learn some marketable career skills employers want, get some valuable work experience for the civilian job market, and give back to their country.”

freefall

Robert Moore (bottom), Director of Adult Education and Principal of the Bloomington Graduation School for Monroe County Schools at Broadview Learning Center, soars through the skies above Fort Knox with Sergeant First Class Jared Zell (top), a member of the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and a native Hoosier.     (Photo by SGT Jon Lopez, US Army Golden Knights.)

 

 

 

Shoot Out for Soldiers Lacrosse

Shoot Out For Soldiers

Shoot Out For Soldiers

The Black Demonstration Team opened the 24 hour Shootout for Soldiers

Lacrosse Tournament in Owens Mills, Maryland this week. There were close to 80

high school teams that participated in the tournament over the 24 hour

period.

We performed a mass formation above McDonogh School after the narrator for the demonstration,

SPC Luke Olk flew in our Nations Colors in front of 250 athletes to kick off the

event. Our mass formation involves each jumper rapidly exiting our C31

Friendship aircraft, while using our hands, arms and legs as flight controls

to link together as quickly as possible to create this breathtaking

formation.

The Shootout for Soldiers event was originally started as a

senior project for a Boys Latin class. Three years later the event has grown into a

major event in Maryland and raises money for wounded warriors.

 

What an honor to open up the Shootout for Soldiers event and being able to represent our

brothers and sisters who continue the fight for our freedom. Black team

continues to train in preparation for our next air show in Utah!

SSG Shelby Bixler

Photos by SSG Reese Pendleton

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