Gold team landed in Missouri on Friday with a warm welcome even though the weather was a bit cold and windy. The team prepared for the attendance in the homecoming parade and jump into the stadium for the Southeast Missouri University football game. The night prior to all the festivities the team was welcomed into the home of Lana Arnzen (a longtime friend of the Golden Knights) where they were received with open arms and treated like family. With a great home cooked meal and some new friends Gold team was ready for the busy day to come.
It started off with the university’s homecoming parade where Gold Team would lead it out! Riding on a float and being pulled by the Cape Girardeau recruiting battalion, the spectator turnout for the event was overwhelmed with American patriots. Gold Team then moves to the airfield in preparation for the Redhawks game. With the sun shining, a clear blue sky, and light winds, we couldn’t have asked for better jump conditions. The team geared up in decorative SEMO jerseys to show their support and performed an amazing show for the rowdy crowd. Two high performance canopies wowed the crowd by leading the stack in followed by another jumper flying in the game ball, while closing the stack with a bi-plane onto the field and our camera man landing dead center on the 50 yard line. Once on the ground the amazing city of Cape Girardeau continues with wonderful support and make us feel right at home.
At the end of the day, Gold team prepared to travel back to fort Bragg. Knowing that one day they would be back to see their old friends again soon.
Smiles crept up the faces of the try-outs this last Thursday as the Golden Knights Twin-Otter aircraft made its climb up to 12,500 feet. The sky was clear and sunny and for the remaining try-outs, this was their first of many exciting baton-passes. It’s the third week of this years Golden Knight Assessment and Selection program and with the improving weather the try-outs are once again back in the skies over Laurinburg, NC. In order to make up for the lost time the cadre are working hard to get the try-outs as many jumps a day as they can. To maximize the training they keep a close watch on the jumpers from the moment he leaves the plane until the landing. At the end of the day a thorough debriefing is given using video recordings of all the jumps. The cadre go in-depth on everything that went right and wrong and the try-out must explain what was happening at that moment. Throughout the day there is no time to rest. Sometimes in as little as 15 minutes from landing the try-out is expected to have his parachute packed and be ready to get on the plane again. Next week the try-outs will put themselves to the test again with the demanding diamond track maneuver. As always we strive for perfection in the skies and soft landings on target.
The 2011 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air show was a huge hit with perfect weather and over 1 million fans. The Golden Knights couldn’t have asked for better conditions and to conduct four shows for the spectators over San Diego California.
This year was especially unique for Gold Team because we were able to make out signature night show alongside the U.S. Navy Parachute Team “The Leap Frogs.” All of which would not have been possible with the incredible jump platform from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Marine C-130T Hercules nicknamed Fat-Albert. Jumping from Fat-Albert at night will forever be an incredible moment for the Golden Knights. It was truly a rare joint demonstration jump where so many branches of military came together in order to make such a wonderful air show become magical.
Sunday morning the Golden Knights were back to our own aircraft reaching an amazing altitude of 13’500 feet over the blue-skies of San Diego, California. Joining us on board were members of the Marine Corps VM-12 Flight Line Activity crew. These lucky Marines were given a true birds eye view of MCAS MIRAMAR, where they have worked day in and day out to accomplish their mission in providing a world-class air show for the surrounding population of San Diego, California.