Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Taking the plunge: The Army’s Golden Knights skydive over Davis

Joe Jones of the U.S. Army Golden Knights and Keetha Mills of the California Community Colleges Foundation head for Earth on Tuesday during skydiving training at SkyDance SkyDiving. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | July 25, 2012 |

At an altitude of 12,000 feet, the Army’s Golden Knights are soaring over Davis this week with tandem skydiving partners. Community members are invited to visit SkyDance SkyDiving at the Yolo County Airport to watch the Knights as they showcase their aerial talents.

They are jumping with key educators and other influential residents of the Sacramento and San Francisco areas, such as California Department of Education leader John Merris-Coots, Community Colleges Board of Governors member Alice Perez, Sacramento Kings recruiter Elayna Campbell and “Good Day Sacramento” weekend anchor Amy Carraba.

Much of the action takes place in a hangar where visitors may sit on old airplane seats to watch the Golden Knights prepare for the jumpers’ “leaps of faith.”

Highly trained soldiers coordinate everything with precision — it’s a tiny glimpse into not only the life of a soldier, but the life of a professional skydiver.

It’s precision skydiving, says pilot Mike Knec. Everything is graded, from their exits to the way the their bodies fly to landing on a target the size of a quarter.

Before they board the plane, the Knights put together the most expensive and technologically advanced parachute system on the market. Requiring plenty of focus, all the parachutes are laid out and assembled as the jumpers get suited up in Army colors: black and gold.

For fun, and for safety, the jumpers also wear an “old school,” all-leather football helmet for protection.

“This is really where you get to see the camaraderie  and professionalism of soldiers who know their jobs inside and out,” says Staff Sgt. Rachel Medley, a tandem coordinator and free-fall videographer. “We just want to share the fun and exciting aspects of the Army, the idea of taking the initiative, facing our fears and doing something that takes a lot of responsibility and precision.”

As the final touches are made on the skydivers’ suits and parachutes, the Army’s C-31 begins to fire up its engines.

Jumpers are led into the aircraft and buckled in for a quick ascent over Davis. Casual conversation and reassurances are common leading up to the jump.

The Rev. John Crews, a retired Navy chaplain, said he was nervous to jump for his second time. That is, until he found out that his friend of 30 years, Tim Norman, a retired Army soldier and clinical psychologist, was going to jump with him.

“I retired from the Navy when I turned 50,” Crews said. “I didn’t think that I would be jumping again with one of my best friends.”

After the aircraft reaches 12,000 feet, crowds on the ground head for the field where the skydivers will land.

While this is not an air show demonstration, there is still a lot of excitement leading up to the Knights’ descent. Every onlooker is asked to sit tightly in one spot so as not to interfere with the skydivers landings at high velocities.

As the parachutes unfurl a mile and a half up in the sky, viewers get a glimpse of some smooth descents.

The videographers are the first to land; they are particularly fast and fun to watch. However, the first-time jumpers are priceless for their post-adrenaline rush after falling out of a plane at 120 mph.

“It was just fantastic,” said Holly Winslow, director of catering operations at the University of San Francisco. “The great thing about it is that the soldiers were so dialed in and they really made you feel very comfortable. They brought my appreciation for the armed services to a whole other level.”

The Golden Knights are a demonstration and competition parachute team drawn from U.S. Army paratroopers who have demonstrated excellence in their parachuting skills. The tandem team has jumped with numerous celebrities and heads of state, most notably President George H.W. Bush, in 2007 and 2012.

The Golden Knights will be performing at the National Hotrod Association Sonoma Nationals this weekend.

Comments

comments

Dominick Costabile

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    State gets more rain, big mudslide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Boston bombing suspect in court for first time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7