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Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

2010 National Airborne Day

Head to Fayetteville NC on Saturday 14 AUG 2010…

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Posted 6 years, 10 months ago at 12:42 am.

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Мерры Чристмас !

Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic –

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 10:03 pm.

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10 Miles – 30,000 Runners…

atm-media-badgeAdd a “drop-in” visit from the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team,  A starting send-off by the Presidential Salute Battery from the US Army’s Old Guard combined with weather that was just perfect and one had a combination for a spectacular event –

Hosted by the US Army’s Military District of Washington, the 25th Anniversary running of the US Army Ten Miler was held this weekend with festivities beginning on Friday 02 OCT as the runners headed to the Washington DC Armory to get their credentials and spend some time perusing the array of vendors & exhibitors covering the floor of this DC Landmark.

Several of the runners had run in the first one over two decades ago were on hand to discuss “why they run…”    It was quite special to encounter several people John Michael met over the years who were getting ready for the day on Sunday.

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Posted 7 years, 8 months ago at 8:46 am.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS US ARMY PARACHUTE TEAM = JUN 27 – 28

THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS GO INTERNATIONAL THIS WEEKEND !

BLACK DEMONSTRATION TEAM =

Canadian Royal Mounted Police Sunset Ceremony Ottawa, ON

GOLD DEMONSTRATION TEAM =

Helena Montana Airshow, MT
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Posted 8 years ago at 10:33 am.

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US ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE TEAM — 20 & 21 JUN 2009

BLACK DEMONSTRATION TEAM =
Quad City Air Show, IA

For more information visit…

THE US ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS WEBSITE
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Posted 8 years ago at 11:46 am.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS US ARMY PARACHUTE TEAM = JUN 13-14

BLACK DEMONSTRATION TEAM – NY Yankees, NY (14th only)

GOLD DEMONSTRATION TEAM – Ocean City Airshow, Ocean City, MD
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Posted 8 years ago at 9:20 pm.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS US ARMY PARACHUTE TEAM = JUN 06-07

BLACK TEAM = Manitiwoc, Wisconsin

GOLD TEAM = Indianapolis Air Show – Indianapolis, Indiana

BLUE SKIES!

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Posted 8 years ago at 10:04 am.

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Part II – US Army — Golden Knights – Elite Ambassadors from the Sky

Somewhere near Fort Bragg, NC: It was late that 16 MAR 2009 day, as I sat watching the formation teams practice in this vertical wind tunnel chamber – weightless maneuvers with the 11 humongous-horsepower fans that kept them aloft… As they went through their routines to collectively form as many different geometric shapes in the less than a minute of time that they had, I sensed there was more to this entire unit than a few Soldiers who decided it would be something different to jump free-fall out of a airplane.

It intrigued me – immensely!

I sat there and LTC Tony Dill, the commander of this elite unit appeared and he was pleasantly surprised that this late in the day I was still here… seems all the major media headed back to file their stories of the events earlier in the day. I just wondered how much they really knew about the Golden Knights and the Soldiers who comprised this unit. I had spent some time exploring their website and found among them Soldiers who were Special Forces & Rangers, but also Helicopter mechanics & Medics, they came from all over the United States… the common theme was that they were AIRBORNE qualified and loved the US ARMY. Can’t ask for a better combination.

Back to LTC Dill and me, I asked if I could spend more time with the unit, since I saw something that needed to be shared, a story of how these men & women are risking their lives (it’s still dangerous jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 5, 10, 13 thousand feet… despite all the fail-safes and precautions that are taken. So each of these Soldiers puts their lives on the line up to several times a week to show the public a skill that I later learn transfers very well to the rest of the US Army.) My request to spend time with the Golden Knights was welcomed and I asked if I could get access to the team when they came to the Washington, DC area – the Andrews AFB Joint Service Airshow in MAY. This additional request was also welcomed and an airplane ride was offered much to my surprise!

The following day, I carried out another mission as I got acceptance of the notecards I had designed from the Golden Knights SSI (Shoulder Sleeve Insignia – though few of them wear the insignia on their shoulder.) – The notecards (along with other designs) are now for sale at the Airborne Special Operations Museum in Faytetteville, NC. I then responded to CPT Funderburk that the notecards were now available to the public and Thank you for the great warm hospitality while I was visiting.

Back to the story…

As the weekend of the Joint Forces Air Show approached, I hadn’t heard about how I would connect with the Golden Knights. Then Saturday 16 MAY, my cell phone had a voicemail on it from LTC Dill … the next day I was at Andrews AFB heading toward a rather wonderful “Golden Knights” aircraft… (I’ve learned that the airplane is the Golden Knights’ home-away-from-home = they spend about 42 weekends – and many weekdays away from their home base at Fort Bragg… and I thought I traveled a lot when I worked for Corporate America!)

I was escorted aboard and as I got strapped in, I watched as several of the Golden Knights reviewed and walked through what they were going to do in the air, right there on the ground (the US Army is always “On the Mission!”) They may have done this hundreds of times before, but again they made sure it was going to be perfect.

They next huddled and went through what I later found out was a ritual that has evolved over time… They then boarded the airplane and began donning their jump-suits – then the parachutes and harnesses went on then another series of staging practices occurred at each of the doors (they take such pride in their work!)

As final preparations were being made for takeoff… a very smooth takeoff mind you! they continued to prepare for their jump as more equipment was …. along with other necessary geargloves, altimeter, a final check of the parachutes.

All this happening while the airplane headed for 12,500 Feet above the Washington, DC area (the Washington Monument looked like a matchstick rising out of the ground!) It had rained the night before and there were still clouds lingering in the skies. As we went higher and higher, we lost 3 degrees of temperature for every 1,000 feet we climbed. Gloves! Need gloves since the brisk winds as the doors were open seemed to keep it cooler.

They even have their own camera man – who takes photos with his camera strapped to his helmet!

TO BE CONTINUED…

Yes, I’m leaving you up in the air…

… don’t they call that a

“cliff hanger?”

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Posted 8 years ago at 1:52 am.

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The US Army — Golden Knights — Elite Ambassadors from the Sky…

It all began in March, the 16th, I traveled to North Carolina to participate in the Golden Anniversary kick-off event – 50 years of the US Army’s Parachute Team at their headquarters on Fort Bragg.

There are several teams among the unit that focus on different aspects of parachuting. The most visible are the BLACK & GOLD demonstration teams that criss-cross the United States spending 42 weekends (and during the week as I later found out) parachuting and drop into airshows, sports stadiums and well, other places that they’ve been requested to appear.

There are also the competition teams that include freefall formation, style accuracy and canopy piloting. The tandem team allows VIPs who have never parachuted to experience and enjoy the safe “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.” – something which I’ll probably get the opportunity to also experience.
I was truly excited about the opportunity, since it’s not often that milestones such as this are reached, yet here I was taking in a bit of history among one of the US Army’s elite units. The weather was iffy, in fact it rained, rained hard… and much of the activity was moved indoors among the floor to ceiling display cases of the numerous awards, medals, plaques, and more that the team has garnered over the years. That was somewhat bittersweet, since there would be no parachute jump today. I was a bit disappointed, especially since their Operations Officer was going out of his way to shuttle me over to the airplane where the part of the team was originating.

They say that every dark rain cloud has a silver lining… as all the photographers & media people were posted on one side of the auditorium where the ceremony was held, again I was offered a true courtesy and allowed to move to the other side of the room just several feet from the podium where all the action was happening… Not only did I get a great vantage point to capture some great photos, I also got to meet the Secretary of the Army, Honorable Pete Geren.
The auditorium was standing room only and LTC Tony Dill, Commander of the Golden Knights orchestrated a fantastic ceremony highlighted by remembering two of the Golden Knights – revealed busts of two alumni — Medal of Honor recipient Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Novosel, who had been chief pilot for the Golden Knights and Sgt. 1st Class Pedro A. Munoz, who had given his life in the defense of the US.

Also the unveiling of the 50th Anniversary Golden Knights SSI and commemorating words by the Secretary of the Army, the President of the Golden Knights Association and finally the ceremonial swords cutting into the cakes for this milestone.
The weather kept us indoors and I explored maintaining my “Ask Big Questions…” so I was exposed to many things while there. One of which was a demonstration by MSG Hendricks accompanied by SGT Woosley of the intricacies of parachutes and how they’re packed (the Golden Knights pack their own!) It was truly amazing to see all that appeared on the floor, neatly disappear back into the pack


Afterwards, I’d learned the style accuracy competition team has as part of their challenge – to land on a disk and spike a small 3 centimeter dot in the center with the spike on the heel of their shoe. Since it was done so often, the judges “reduced” the dot to TWO centimeters.

Later in the day, I went to the “vertical wind tunnel” off post and watched as the formation team practiced their maneuvers in what was a chamber where they were able to fly like eagles.

Little did I know that this was just the beginning of what would be a great week spent in May…

More to come…

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Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 11:00 pm.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS US ARMY PARACHUTE TEAM = MAY 02-03

BLACK TEAM = New Orleans, LA
GOLD TEAM = Robbins AFB Open house, Warner Robbins, GA
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Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 10:11 am.

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