SFC Josh Coleman Baton Presentation
In June of 1942 over 24,000 allied troops gathered at grassy fields in England to perform a task that has become a common sight at FT Bragg, NC. The men gathered their equipment, donned their parachutes, and took off into the night sky. Hours later, more than 160,000 troops stormed the Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches that spanned 50 miles of Normandy coastline.
June 6th, 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the prolific invasion that launched American Forces into Occupied France. At Bedford, VA over 6,000 veterans, family members and supporters gathered at the National D-Day Memorial to commemorate the historic event. Laid out over a sprawling amphitheater, the memorial showcased a reenactment of the landing cast in stone and iron, complete with a beachhead made with sand from Normandy.
On Friday, members of the Golden Knights 8-Way competition section were honored to perform an airdrop over the monument in front of the courageous men who filled it’s seats. At exactly 11:30 AM SFC Kurt Isenbarger gave the ‘standby’ signal and seven paratroopers exited our UV-18 Twin Otter to pay homage to the men and women who paved the road to Berlin. Shortly after the jump, SFC Sean Sweeney and SFC Josh Coleman presented two mahogany batons, which were flown in with the jumpers to 1LT John Kessler; the guest of honor at Friday’s memorial.
The legacy of men like 1LT Kessler and the countless veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice on the shores of Normandy are the reason why all Soldiers hold themselves to such impeccable standards. The actions of allied troops across both European and Pacific Theaters established a measure of toughness, devotion to duty, and honor that stands as a model for the men and women of today’s Armed Forces that will surely carry into the future.
SFC Drew Star
SPC Daniel Osario jumping in the American Flag
The Gold Demonstration Team had a short flight this weekend to Latrobe, PA. We left early Friday morning and after arriving set up for our practice jump. The practice mass formation went well to set things rolling for the weekend.
Saturday morning started with out a cloud in the sky. SPC Daniel Osorio started the air show off by flying in the national colors while being circled by Matt Chapman. SFC Brian Karst and SGT Blake Gaynor closed out the morning show by performing a breath taking down plane. After landing we headed over to the Army recruiting booth to pack our parachutes with the help of the Latrobe community. Once everything was reset the team headed back up to perform our full show. All maneuvers were performed and we closed out the show just prior to the Blue Angels starting their performance.
The forecast for Sunday was not as promising. The team took the short drive to the airport and watched as the clouds started to form. The plane took off as scheduled and we prepared for the morning jump. However, once we were at our exit altitude the rain started and forced us to land. After landing we prepared for the afternoon show in hopes that the rain would clear.
Take off went as scheduled and we were prepared with multiple options in case we had to adjust our exit altitudes due to clouds. The Gold team leader, SFC Dustin Peregren, made the call and the narrator stepped out right on schedule. Minutes after the narrator landed heavy rain started, so the remaining team members circled the target awaiting a break. The rain lifted and the team leader gave us a thumbs up. Instead of the full show, we adjusted to the weather and launched a mass formation. Once the team was safely on the ground SSG Brandon Parra closed out the weekend.
We would like to thank the Latrobe community for allowing the team to perform. Next year we hope for blue skies through out the entire weekend.
SSG Jon Clevenger—
Photos By Theriom Rasputin
SSG George Perez catches the American Flag as SPC Daniel Osario comes in for a soft stand up landing
SFC Karst and SGT Gaynor
Beautiful Bomburst in the sky
The US Parachute Team for Canopy Piloting photo by SFC Jared Zell
What a week! The Golden Knights canopy piloting team spent the last 12 days in Zephyrhills, FL competing in the final Florida Canopy Piloting Association (FLCPA) meet of the season and the USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting.
The final FLCPA meet of the year was also the largest. Just days before Nationals, Canopy Pilots from across the globe came out to fine tune their flying skills. Over 60 competitors took to the skies making the competition a very tight race for the top spots. A strong tail wind was the story of the day helping the competitors go faster and further than most have gone before. By the end of the FLCPA meet SFC Greg Windmiller, SFC Joe Abeln and SFC Jared Zell all finished in the top 10 of the final five meet league standings.
Two days after the FLCPA wrapped up, USPA Nationals of Canopy Piloting began. Nearly 80 Competitors showed up to Skydive City for the competition. Three rounds of each Speed, Distance and Zone Accuracy are the events for nationals. This year was also a selection year for making the 8 person US Team for the up coming World Championships later this year also at Skydive City. The jumpers completed five rounds of competition by the end of the first day, all three rounds of speed and two rounds of distance. The second day finished out the last four rounds. A stiff head wind picked up for the afternoon making the final round of Zone Accuracy very challenging.
SFC Joe Abeln salutes the camera on exit. Photo by Randy Swallows
When the scores were posted the Golden Knights had a lot to celebrate. SFC Joe Abeln took a Bronze medal in Zone Accuracy and an 8th place overall finish making the US Team as an alternate. SFC Greg Windmiller despite a shoulder injury finished a Bronze medal overall and making the US Team in 3rd place.
SFC Joe Abeln
SFC Joe Abeln going for distance photo by Jim Harris
SFC Joe Abeln wins the Bronze Medal in Zone Accuracy photo by Jared Zell