BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WETM) – Thousands of feet above the Southern Tier you will see flashes of gold sweeping through the skies. The U.S. Army Golden Knights are a featured performer at the 2021 Greater Binghamton Airshow, showcasing their passion for country and parachuting to the region.
While they make it look easy, jumping into the sky from thousands of feet up is nerve-wracking. What does it really take to be a United States Army Golden Knight?
“I found out I could combine the two things that I love; my career in the Army and freefall parachute jumps, so I took the leap,” SSG. Morgan George said.
Their routine is down to the minute and their jumps are poised and sharp. The Golden Knights have performed in more than 21,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries. The more than 100 men and women who make up the Golden Knights are separated into eight sections: The Black and Gold demonstration teams, a tandem team, two competition teams, a select training team, an aviation detachment, and the headquarters section.
Being a Golden Knight is more than simply jumping out of a plane. The teams train and practice for hours while perfecting their performance day routine. Alongside this preparation, the team is about inspiring others to pursue their passions.
“I knew that the Golden Knights did more than just skydive. They actually connect the American public to the military,” SFC. Danny Hellmann added. “I hope to inspire the next generation that will essentially take the reins from us one day.”
The reputation of the parachute team preceded itself, inspiring those on the team to join.
“I grew up in the town where the Golden Knights are from. All my life I saw them jumping,” SSG. George continued. “I started skydiving in 2012.”
COVID-19 restrictions brought many performances to a halt last year, but now the team is excited to be back, performing in front of audiences once again.
“Traveling, getting back out into the rhythm of the road and seeing the public actually coming out from the pandemic and lockdown, it’s wonderful,” SSG. George concluded.
The airshow features a demonstration team flying in a C147A Dash 8 aircraft. These parachute jumpers perform precision free-fall demonstrations.
The Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC) was formed in 1959 to compete during the Cold War. In 1961, the Department of Defense officially sanctioned the aerial demonstration team, which is one of three DoD performance groups, including the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
The mission of today’s Army is still the same as it was 244 years ago when the Army was established: Prevent, Shape and Win against our adversaries.
It has been a few years since flight enthusiasts have gathered for the Greater Binghamton Airshow, but this year spectators are in for a show. For the first time since 2018, people will travel to the Southern Tier to see some of the premiere ariel show teams perform, including the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds. The weekend is filled with action and excitement.
The airshow is at the Greater Binghamton Airport from July 17 to July 19. Events, vendors, and more are featured. For more information on tickets and parking, visit their website here.