Kerry Sanders, NBC Correspondent Tandem Parachute Jumps With Golden Knights

IMG5x7_6236 Miami-based correspondent Kerry Sanders with NBC put his life in the hands of Soldier SFC Noah Watts to conduct a tandem parachute jump this morning over the beautiful blue skies of Fort Bragg, NC.

Mr. Sanders and SFC Watts began their morning at about 6:30 a.m. with an interview on NBC Today Show on Green Ramp at Pope Army Airfield. Mr. Sanders said, “ I am honored and thrilled to be part of the Hiring Heroes Plan and to thank all of the Soldiers for service to their country and to be with this program to help with what you do in the civilian world.”

Sanders and entourage then fled to the Golden Knight hanger to ascend in the Twin Otter to climb to 13,000 feet for his grand leap. Prior to getting on the plane Kerry said, that he was sure someone was going to ask him why was he going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and all he could say was that he was an adrenaline junkie and he knew it was going to be absolutely amazing.

When at altitude SFC Jon Ewald one of his videographers asked him what he was thinking? Kerry said, ”It’s really a long way down there!!! But I have all the faith in All ya’ll, and the Soldiers I put my life in the hands of in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Videographer SSG Jonathan Lopez climbed out onto the side of the plane, SFC Watts and Kerry stepped to the edge of the door and were gone in split second.

SPC Daniel Osorio was the first jumper to hit the ground before a thousand cheering Soldiers. Meanwhile, SFC JD Berentis and SFC Tom Melton were flying bright red smoke alongside Mr. Sanders as they rapidly approached the earth. Followed by SFC Adrian Hill who proudly flew in a Army Star flag surrounded by the words Solders for Life.

Momentarily the gleaming face of Mr Sanders swiftly glided by the two huge Howitzers and XVIII ABN white and blue emblem and came to a soft standing halt.

Mr Sanders joined his crew and said,”Even though I did this before, seven years ago, it seemed brand new, and I don’t know maybe it was because of live cameras. The Golden Knights and Fort Bragg have made me feel so welcomed.”

XVlll Airborne Corps, LTC Gary Belcher and Fort Bragg have been working to host the Hiring Heroes Plan with Ms. Teresa Gerton (DAS for Veterans Employment and Training, Dept of Labor); Dr. Susan Kelly (Director, Transition to Veterans Program Office);BG David MacEwen (The Adjutant General of the Army); Ms. Rosye Cloud (Sr Adv, Veteran Employment, Veterans Benefit Admin; Mr. Eric Eversole (Executive Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Ross Cohen (Senior Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Kerry Sanders (NBC News and Today Show contributor) and numerous organizations to hold a successful Transition Summit.

A Few objectives of this event was to unify local, regional and national efforts to educate up to 1200 Soldiers and their Families, who will transition from the military in 3-18 months on the enormous number of resources available to them as they transition from military service, reintegrate into civilian life and to prepare them for transition into the civilian workforce; conduct a North Carolina focused hiring event for up to 150 Soldiers who are less than sixty days from separating from the Army.

Thunder Over Utah

ThunderUtah Goldweb

The Gold Demonstration Team has had a busy weekend in the beautiful state of Utah. The team traveled to Saint George for the Thunder Over Utah Air Show. The unpredictable weather made it a little tricky for the jumpers and pilots participating in the show. Sadly, the team was unable to perform on Friday due to extremely high winds. This made the crowd even more eager for Saturday. Saturday morning started off beautifully with hardly any wind. The narrator made the first jump of the day, flying in the American Flag to the National Anthem. The crowd was very excited and the enthusiasm carried throughout the entire show.

Gold Team performed a full show, ending the performance with a mass, as the remaining jumpers built a formation in the sky. By the time the last jumpers exited the aircraft, the winds were howling. This made the jump a little tricky, but with the encouragement of the audience, all the jumpers made it safely to the ground in beautiful Golden Knight fashion. After the show was over, the team acquired some amazing kids to help pack up their parachutes for the next days jump.

Sunday also proved to be an outstanding day for jumping. Specialist Daniel Osorio got the show started for the afternoon by flying in the American Flag. He then made his way to Rob Reider, Airshow host extraordinaire, where he narrated his entire team performing a Mass maneuver. This was not just any mass, however, once the initial formation was built in the sky, the team went on to perform the Golden Knight Bomb Burst, a planned Cut-Away, and also linked up two parachutes in the sky for Canopy Relative Work. It was an exciting jump, as there was so much going on. The team performed flawlessly and the crowd once again gave each of the jumpers a warm reception upon landing.

The Knights also had the privilege of jumping two tandem passengers at the Airshow. SFC Joe Abeln and SSG Jon Lopez from the Tandem Team accompanied Gold Team as they jumped from 11, 500 feet to give these great passengers a ride of a lifetime.

Thunder Over Utah is a fun show with a great gathering of spectators and outstanding line up of performers. The team is looking forward to coming back to this beautiful state. Until then, Blue Skies!
SSG Gallagher, photos by SSG Trey Martin.

Irvine

Irvine landingWEBOn Monday July 7, 2014, a former British Sailor tandem-jumped with SFC Jon Ewald and the Army Parachute Team, “Golden Knights,” as part of his and his teams visit to Fort Bragg, N.C. This former sailor is the boisterous Robert Irvine of the Food Networks Restaurant: Impossible.

“Wild, Golden Knights-Irvine, Wild”-exclaimed Irvine.

Serving veterans and veteran organizations is a personal mission for Irvine, who joined the British Royal Navy when he was 15. A native of England, Robert joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 15, and his skills in the kitchen soon came to the attention of his superiors. As part of his service for the Royal Navy, Robert was selected to work aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, where the royal family and its entourages regularly dined.

During his time training U.S. Navy chefs as part of a guest chef program, Robert worked in the White House kitchens and his creations were served to high-ranking government officials. During his career, he has also had the opportunity to serve 6,000 servicemen and women on a U.S. aircraft carrier and plan the menu for a celebrity-studded after-party at the Academy Awards.

As a part of his most recent Restaurant: Impossible mission, fixing up the old Green Beret Club that has been around since the early 1940’s at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Mr. Irvine received the amazing honor of being allowed to jump with the world-renowned, Golden Knights. Once suited up and ready to jump out of a plane at 12,000 feet, Mr. Irvine had these words to say to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces:

“Let me tell you all, the men and women of our Armed Forces. I got to tell you ‘Thank You’ cause you’re allowing me to have the freedom and God bless you all. I’m going to tell you this, as long as there is breath in my lungs, I will not let America forget each and any one of you. God bless you all.”

A few days later on July 10, 2014 Irvine’s spouse Gail Kim, a 4-time Total Nonstop Action Impact Wrestling Women’s Champion and former World Wrestling Entertainment Women’s Champion, put on a flight suit and harness, climbed into the one of the teams Viking Twin Otter’s and had this to say, “It feels like we’re already really high.”

After reaching an altitude of 13,000 feet, Tandem Team Leader SFC Joe Jones and Gail jumped from their aircraft, free-falled and glided into a standup landing. Gail then expressed herself with “I did it, I did it, I did it…the only way I’d ever do it (skydive) cause it’s the safest way (with the Golden Knights). I don’t even know how to describe it, you just have to do it!”

By Jerry Morrison

 

 

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