Leap of Faith for Tandem Passengers

20140818 Noah2 20140820 Rich1Half way through ACC in Homestead, Florida, tandem team takes part in a program designed to give back to those that have lost so much. Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th, the Leap of Faith program took place. This program was created by Operation Support Our Troops-America. It is a 2 day seminar for families of fallen troops that encourages life on the other side of grief and loss and teaches principles of courage, trust, letting go and building community. On the second day, the attendees of this program take a literal leap of faith with an Army Golden Knight.

Among the people attending the program was Shannon Thorp, Kate D’Corazon, and Cassandra Randolph. They, like the many others in the program, made their Leap of Faith in honor of a loved one that had lost their lives whether it was over seas or back home. Shannon Thorp had stated that after her loss, she vowed to never turn down an amazing opportunity, such as the Leap of Faith. Not only are we helping these families, but we ourselves are honoring the fallen as they were our brother’s and sister’s in arms. It is an amazing honor for the Golden Knights to help these families and take them on their Leap of Faith.

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Lea Gabrielle Soars To New Heights

Thimbsupweb712On January 23rd in brilliant blue skies over Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fox News Journalist and Reporter, Lea Gabrielle climbed to unventured heights in the sky with The U.S. Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights.

Lea arrived at 7:00 am and was greeted by the Commander of the Golden Knights, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Weinrich, Tandem Team Leader Sergeant First Class Joe Jones, and the Women’s Champion 4-Way Formation Team (GKF4), Sergeants First Class Angela Nichols, Dannielle Woosley, Jennifer Davidson, and Laura Dickmeyer.

Lea completed her training, signed the necessary paper work and donned an Army black and gold jumpsuit. This accomplished Female Veteran Navy Pilot was well on the way to her once in a life time opportunity, placing her life in the hands of a very skilled professional Soldier.

Team pilots, Mr. Kenneth Breeden and Mr. Allen Aber, taxied the Viking Twin Otter to an elevation of 13,500 feet as the nervous reporter said to the Fox photographer, “This is the type of office I am so accustom to where I am flying, not jumping out of, a perfectly good airplane in to the thin air!”

Moments later the team videographers climbed out onto the struts of the aircraft and began filming the thrilling event. Lea and SFC Jones stepped into the door. She gave quick thumbs up and a patriotic salute. In a split second the pair went dove into the blue abyss of the morning sky and the magic had begun.

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The GKF4 women’s competition team flew down to Lea and grasped her hands forming a perfect circle in the air. The videographers skillfully flew around the formation capturing her elated expressions.

Soon Lea found herself under a gigantic Army canopy sailing left and right spiraling round and round. SFC Jones then turned into the wind for a beautiful soft landing.

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LTC Weinrich said, “The U.S. Army Parachute Team ‘Golden Knights’ enjoy the opportunity to conduct tandem parachute jumps with centers of influence around the country. While we treat all tandem passengers equally, the extent and effect of outreach news personalities and celebrities such as Ms. Lea Gabrielle have help inform the American public about the incredibly talented professionals we have across the Army Team. By including the Golden Knights’ Women’s 4-Way Formation Team into Lea’s jump, we demonstrated how the Golden Knights are, like the Army, a Team of Teams, which offer young men and women many opportunities. Because the Army generally operates in a joint environment with the other services, it was an honor working with Lea, a Navy Veteran, who understands the discipline, sacrifice, and professionalism required to serve in the military.”

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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!

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