Black Team Rocking Rockford

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Black Team Leader  SFC Kevin Presgraves signing autographs

Black Team Leader SFC Kevin Presgraves signing autographs

 

 

The Black Demonstration Team led by SFC Kevin Presgraves traveled north this past weekend to Rockford, Illinois for the Rockford Airfest. The team arrived on Friday and attended the event sponsored social where we were welcomed back to the airshow circuit along with several other phenomenal civilian and military acts including the US Airforce Thunderbirds and the Canadian Snowbirds. The team opened the show Saturday morning with PFC Jason Wenger and SSG Shelby Bixler flying in the American and Canadian Flag for a dual anthem. Accompanying PFC Wenger and SSG Bixler during their canopy decent to show center were pilots Rob Holland and Bill Stein.

The team then performed a mass formation and landed along the crowd line of close to 65,000 air show enthusiasts. Our afternoon full show was modified due to cloud cover, but that did not stop Black Team from pushing forward and giving the American public a stellar performance of a baton pass, the crowd favorite down plane maneuver, as well as a diamond formation from an altitude of only 6500 feet! Although mother nature gave us some leeway for our Saturday performances we were not able to open the show on Sunday morning due to weather. Low visibility does not stop the Golden Knights from walking through crowds of close to 65,000 air show fans to share our Army story, sign autographs, take photos and even visit with the air show vendors and chalets. The weather lifted just enough for us during the afternoon to perform two passes of stackout maneuvers followed by a full team lineup.

Honorary GK John Duda

Honorary GK John Duda

 

Special thanks to Honorary Golden Knight John Duda for assisting the team this weekend and to all of our fellow military and civilian acts.

 

College World Series Golden

College World Series Opening Ceremonies   Early Thursday morning Gold team took off for Omaha, NB home of the College World Series. Immediately after landing we headed to the field and surveyed the landing area. After all ground preparations were complete we headed to the plane and suited up for the afternoon’s practice jump. The winds barely held off but stayed just below our limits and allowed all jumpers to safely land in the stadium.

As the team headed to the plane Friday afternoon there was not a cloud in the sky and nothing to stop the evenings jump. The team greeted the press riders and active duty Air Force members that were joining the team for the evenings flight. Once the safety brief was complete and the team leader,  SFC Dustin Peregrin reviewed the evenings jump plan, the team headed inside the aircraft to once again put on the black double zipper jump suit. However, this evening we would all wear one of the eight team jerseys representing all the schools that made it to the World Series.

The C31 Friendship Fokker took off and headed straight for the stadium for the streamer drop. The plane continued to circled over head until we received the call from the Drop Zone Ground Controller, SSG George Perez with the 2 minute warning. The plane turned in bound and the hot target was echoed throughout the plane. SGT Trey Martin Gold Team Videographer stepped out solo and landed the American flag. The remaining 8 team members stood in the plane awaiting their turn. Only a few minutes passed until we all left the plane and found ourselves all landing safely in the outfield just minutes prior to the evenings firework show. Special thanks to the city of Omaha and the staff at the College World Series. Best of luck to all the teams that made it!                 SSG Jon Clevenger

 

 

 

D-Day Remembrance

 

SFC Josh Coleman Baton Presentation

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

 

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