As the year begins to wind down, Tandem Team is still going strong. Tuesday brought 4th BDE Cadet Command back to our training site in Laurinburg, NC. On the list of jumpers was Shelly Deberry from Charleston, WV. Shelly is a counselor in the West Virginia Department of Education. She runs a special program to help prevent students from dropping out of high school. Also jumping today Ruben Campillo from Charlotte, NC, LTC Richard Brown from Raleigh, NC and Major Michael Arnette, a surgeon on Ft. Bragg. (more…)
Almost 10 months after leaving their new winter training home, the Golden Knights return to Homestead ARB, FL to show the locals the results of the hard work they put in there. The Team was working with the now familiar personnel on the base to put on the Wings Over Homestead Airshow. With high winds and low clouds the first few days, the first two jumps, both tandem missions had to be postponed. Luckily they were able to get both tandem passengers in the air during the weekend jumps, allowing two people, Lynn Martinez from the Channel 7 News, and Laurence Feldman, a Miami Dade School board member, to experience their first minute of freefall. By Friday night, however, the winds had calmed enough to pull off a night jump into the social, complete with pyrotechnics, for each jumper and an impressive “pyro chain” built by Gold Team member SGT Chris Clark.
The Team continued the weekend by opening the show both on Saturday and Sunday, by jumping in the American Flag to the National Anthem, and then performing a tandem jump, and a mass demonstration. Showing many of the capabilities that the Team has to offer. On Saturday, after the jump, the Team was given the great opportunity to meet Rizzy, a little girl who honors military members all over the country by giving them a coin, saluting them, and telling them, as she told the Team, “Thanks for being my Soldier.” This little girl with the huge heart reminds everyone what the military represents and shows all that they are appreciated.
The Airshow was a huge success, and the Team looks forward to returning to Homestead ARB in January to start training the new personnel for the 2011 show season.
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!”